SEATTLE, Wash. - Officials monitoring lower than usual snowpack levels in the state say it's not yet time to panic, but they're nevertheless preparing in case of a possible drought.
The Department of Ecology plans to ask the Legislature for drought-relief money in case dry weather conditions persist.
A committee charged with watching the state's water supply is meeting next week for the first time since 2010 to start preparing for the worst.
Water supply specialist Scott Pattee with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Mount Vernon says he and others are watching snowpack levels closely.
The state relies on mountain snowpack to supply water for drinking water, irrigation, fish migration, power generation and other needs through the year.
He says statewide snowpack levels are about 50 percent less than normal for this time of year.