Eastern Washington

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Coordinates: 47°30′N 119°0′W / 47.500°N 119.000°W / 47.500; -119.000
Eastern Washington
Region
Country United States
State Washington
Part of Pacific Northwest
Borders on British Columbia, Eastern Oregon, Idaho Panhandle, Cascade Range/Western Washington
Parts Central Washington
Rivers Columbia River, Snake River
Coordinates 47°30′N 119°0′W / 47.500°N 119.000°W / 47.500; -119.000

Eastern Washington is the portion of the US state of Washington east of the Cascade Range. The region contains the city of Spokane (the second largest city in the state), the Tri-Cities, the Columbia River and the Grand Coulee Dam, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and the fertile farmlands of the Yakima Valley and the Palouse. Unlike the west half of the state, the climate of Eastern Washington is dry, including some near-desert environments.

Statehood

There have been sporadic movements to create a 51st state out of Eastern Washington by splitting the current state down the Cascades, but proposals have rarely progressed out of the state legislature's committees. Recent proposals were made in 1996, 1999, and 2005. Proposed names for the new state have included Lincoln, and Columbia, or simply Eastern Washington. Many of these proposals were to include the Idaho Panhandle. See: State of Lincoln for more information.

Eastern Washington tends to vote Republican, whereas Western Washington usually supports the Democrats.

Climate

The most significant difference between Eastern Washington and the western half of the state is its climate. While the west half of the state is located in a rainy oceanic climate, the eastern half receives little rainfall due to the rainshadow created by the Cascade Mountains. Also, due to being farther from the sea, the east side has both hotter summers and colder winters than the west. Most communities in Eastern Washington, for example, have significant yearly snowfall, while in the west snowfall is minimal and not seen every year. The east and west do still have some climatic traits in common, though: more rainfall in winter than summer, a lack of severe storms, and milder temperature ranges than more inland locations.

There is some variation in both rainfall throughout Eastern Washington. Generally, lower elevations are both hotter and drier than higher elevations. This is easily seen in the comparison between low-elevation Richland with higher elevation Spokane.

Climate data for Richland, Washington
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 71
(22)
73
(23)
82
(28)
92
(33)
104
(40)
110
(43)
110
(43)
113
(45)
106
(41)
89
(32)
77
(25)
66
(19)
113
(45)
Average high °F (°C) 41
(5)
48
(9)
58
(14)
65
(18)
73
(23)
80
(27)
88
(31)
88
(31)
78
(26)
64
(18)
49
(9)
38
(3)
64.2
(17.8)
Average low °F (°C) 29
(−2)
30
(−1)
35
(2)
41
(5)
48
(9)
54
(12)
59
(15)
58
(14)
50
(10)
40
(4)
34
(1)
28
(−2)
42.2
(5.6)
Record low °F (°C) −21
(−29)
−22
(−30)
11
(−12)
23
(−5)
30
(−1)
38
(3)
41
(5)
39
(4)
31
(−1)
13
(−11)
−6
(−21)
−10
(−23)
−22
(−30)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.01
(25.7)
0.80
(20.3)
0.69
(17.5)
0.60
(15.2)
0.65
(16.5)
0.50
(12.7)
0.25
(6.4)
0.16
(4.1)
0.31
(7.9)
0.54
(13.7)
1.02
(25.9)
1.12
(28.4)
7.65
(194.3)
Source: Weather.com
Climate data for Downtown Spokane, Washington
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 62
(17)
66
(19)
74
(23)
94
(34)
98
(37)
102
(39)
112
(44)
112
(44)
102
(39)
90
(32)
72
(22)
60
(16)
112
(44)
Average high °F (°C) 34.2
(1.2)
39.7
(4.3)
49.2
(9.6)
58
(14)
67.1
(19.5)
74
(23)
88
(31)
88
(31)
73.8
(23.2)
58.8
(14.9)
42.1
(5.6)
32.2
(0.1)
58.8
(14.9)
Average low °F (°C) 24.7
(−4.1)
26.4
(−3.1)
31.6
(−0.2)
36.8
(2.7)
43.8
(6.6)
50.4
(10.2)
56.3
(13.5)
55.8
(13.2)
47.4
(8.6)
37.2
(2.9)
29.8
(−1.2)
22.5
(−5.3)
38.6
(3.7)
Record low °F (°C) −30
(−34)
−24
(−31)
−10
(−23)
14
(−10)
24
(−4)
33
(1)
37
(3)
35
(2)
22
(−6)
7
(−14)
−21
(−29)
−25
(−32)
−30
(−34)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.79
(45.5)
1.33
(33.8)
1.61
(40.9)
1.28
(32.5)
1.62
(41.1)
1.25
(31.8)
0.64
(16.3)
0.59
(15)
0.67
(17)
1.18
(30)
2.30
(58.4)
2.29
(58.2)
16.55
(420.5)
citation needed

Geography

Nomenclature

Other terms used for Eastern Washington or large parts of it include:

Cities

Spokane is the largest city in eastern Washington and the metropolitan center of the Inland Empire region

The following cities and towns in Eastern Washington have over 10,000 inhabitants.6

National Parks and other protected areas

The summit of Goat Peak in the Okanogan National Forest

Counties

Eastern Washington is composed of Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman, and Yakima Counties.

Population

Compared to Western Washington, Eastern Washington has roughly twice the land area and one-third the population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the population estimate as of 2004 was 1,371,802. The population growth rate between the two is roughly the same. Of Washington's nine Congressional districts, Eastern Washington exactly encompasses two (the 4th and 5th), aside from a small portion of the 4th in Skamania County.

Educational institutions

Eastern Washington hosts a number of world-renowned universities including three of the state's five public universities.

Public institutions

Private institutions

Research institutions

Images

Notes and references

  1. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  2. ^ "Climatological Normals of Spokane". Hong Kong Observatory. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  3. ^ WSP Eastside Recruiter Returns to Face Recruitment Challenge, Washington State Patrol Government and Media Relations, September 8, 2010, retrieved 2010-12-27 
  4. ^ "Eastside steelheading enters last month". Bellingham Herald. March 4, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  5. ^ "Eastside Earthquakes Get Attention At Conference In Yakima". Oregon Public Broadcasting. October 17, 2007. Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  6. ^ Population figures are the most recent figures contained in the respective Wikipedia articles, or in the List of cities in Washington.


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