Western Drought Eases

The western United States has seen abundant mountain snow in most areas promising runoff that will provide a break from the drought that has plagued the region since late 1999. The Colorado mountains are will unleash more runoff than they have in 11 years. Streams in Washington and Oregon are forecast to carry up to 50 percent more water than usual. It was the wettest winter in four years. The reason for the wet conditions was an unusually strong jet stream that pushed this past winter's storms across more of the West than usual. Cold weather that followed the storms helped by allowing the snow to build up instead of melting away rapidly. Water utilities in Phoenix and Denver expect their supplies to be in good shape. Salt Lake City's Department of Public Utilities expects average levels.

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