After a week long rush of working, last minute Christmas preparations, and celebrating it is very nice to have a day of leisure to rest and get over the head cold that hit as soon as the festivities were over. We are in the fifties – highly unusual for this time of year. Our temperatures have dipped consistently below freezing day and night for weeks. My experience in this region is lots of snow, but this year we have had very little precipitation of any kind. There is still lots of winter left for snow, I am sure the dry land wheat farmers are thoughtfully assessing the situation as the seed they planted can be damaged by this serious cold with no snow pack to protect it and water it come the warmer months.
In our irrigated farm lands there are similar concerns over the lack of snow. The reservoirs are recharged each winter to ensure plenty of water for power (hydro-power), recreation, wildlife (specifically salmon/fish) and farming. When the precipitation is minimal the reserved water has to be allocated with care to ensure minimal injury in any industry. Our state economy is severely stressed and a hit to farming, electric power production, tourism, and wildlife (hunters/fishermen) would cause further financial strain with less tax revenue and higher costs to care for affected areas.
2011 has been a very productive and positive year here in the Columbia Basin, here’s hoping that 2012 will prove to be equally good for all.