Washington State Geography
According to hangzhou, the state of Washington is located in the extreme northwest of the USA on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and thus belongs to the region of the Pacific Northwest. The capital is Olympia. The largest city is Seattle. The state was named after the US President George Washington. To better differentiate it from Washington DC, it is also referred to as Washington State.
The area of Washington covers a total area of 184,827 square kilometers and is therefore ranked 18th in size comparison with the other states. About 52 percent of Washington, which is an average of 520 meters above sea level, is forested. The highest elevation of the state is the 4,395 meter high Mount Rainier. The lowest point is at sea level on the coast of the Pacific Ocean.
In the north, Washington borders the Canadian province of British Columbia. To the east is the border with Idaho. The state of Oregon lies to the south and the Pacific borders Washington to the west.
Much of the southern border is formed by the course of the Columbia River. The 1,953-kilometer-long Columbia River is the richest river in North America that flows into the Pacific. Its source is in British Columbia, Canada. Otherwise, however, about 85 percent of the river is within the United Statesand for a length of 1,100 kilometers it flows through Washington State.
All of Washington’s rivers flow into the Pacific Ocean. The most important besides the Columbia River are the approximately 1,674 kilometers long Snake River, the Pend Oreille River (209 kilometers in length), the Okanogan River (185 kilometers in length) and the Lewis and Cowlitz Rivers (153 and 170 kilometers in length).
The Columbia and its tributaries are dammed on their way to the sea. This created a number of artificial lakes, such as the Franklin-Delano-Roosevelt Lake, the Rufus Woods Lake or the Lake Bonneville.
In addition, there are a number of natural lakes in Washington. The largest of these is Lake Chelan, 81 kilometers long and 1.5 kilometers wide. Near Seattle is the state’s second largest lake, Lake Washington.
The landscape of Washington is characterized by the stark contrast between the coastal and mountainous region in the west and the flatter, dry areas in the east of the state.
In northeast Washington lies the Puget Sound, an approximately 150 kilometers long, widely branched and island-rich bay. Seattle and a few other large and small cities are located in this bay. The Puget Sound is partly supported by the Olympic Peninsula enclosed. The mountainous peninsula is heavily forested and very rainy. Along with Hawaii, it is considered to be the wettest region in the United States. The Olympic Mountains reach a height of almost 2,500 meters and belong to the mountain range of the coastal mountains of the North American Pacific coast. There is the Olympic National Park on the peninsula. The parallel cascade chain joins the coastal region to the east. The up to 4,400 meter high mountain range of volcanic origin runs through Washington from north to south. There is also the highest mountain in the state, Mount Rainier volcano. The next higher mountains of the Cascade Range, Mount Baker, Glacier Peak and Mount St. Helens, are also still active volcanoes. The last volcanic eruption was that of Mount St. Helens in 1980.
The Columbia River is the only river in Washington to break the Cascade Range. There are numerous waterfalls in the gorge – the Columbia River George – that formed on its way through the rocks, for example the impressive 188-meter-high Multnomah Falls. In the Cascade Mountains there are several national parks, such as Mount Rainier National Park, as well as numerous smaller protected areas.
East of the Cascade Range the landscape of Washington is predominantly dominated by semi-desert areas with little vegetation. In the northeast, the Kettle River Range rises up to 2,175 meters. To the south of it lies the Selkirk Mountains, which are up to 1,800 meters high. In the extreme southeast are the Blue Mountains, a mountain range with peaks up to 2,700 meters high.
Washington State – Key Data
Land area: 184,827 sq km (18th place of all US states)
Share of water surface: 6.6%
Population: 6.55 million (2008 estimate, ranked 2 of all states in the USA)
Population density: 35 people per square kilometer (25th of all states in the USA)
Member of the USA since: November 11, 1889 (as the 42nd state of the USA)
Capital: Olympia (42,514 residents, 2000)
Largest city: Seattle (594,210 residents, 2007, metropolitan area 3.26 million residents)
Highest point: 4,395 m, Mount Rainier
Lowest point: 0 m, Pacific Ocean
Governor: Christine Gregoir (Democrat)
Lieut. Governor: Brad Owen (Democrat)
Local time: CET -9 h. From the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November: CET -8 h.
The time difference to Central Europe is -9 h in both winter and summer.
Postal abbreviation: WA