Washington, officially the Washington State, is a state in the United States ' Pacific Northwest region. Named for George Washington, the first U.S. president, the state was made from the western part of the Washington Territory, which was ceded by the British Empire in 1846 in accordance with the Oregon Treaty in the settlement of the Oregon boundary dispute. The territory, bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by Oregon, on the east by Idaho, and on the north by the Canadian province of British Columbia, was admitted to the Union in 1889 as the 42nd state. Olympia is the capital of the state; Seattle is the biggest city of the state.
Washington is the 18th largest state with an area of 71,362 square miles (184,827 square kilometers) and the 13th most populous state with over 7.4 million residents. Approximately 60% of Washington's residents live in the metropolitan area of Seattle, the transportation, business, and industry hub along Puget Sound, a Pacific Ocean inlet consisting of multiple islands, deep fjords, and glacier-cut bays. The rest of the state consists of deep-temperate rainforests in the west; mountain ranges in the west, central, north-east, and far south-east; and a semi-arid drainage area in the east, middle, and south, devoted to intensive farming. Washington is the West Coast and Western United States ' second most populous state after California. Mount Rainier, an active stratovolcano, is the highest elevation of the state at nearly 14,411 feet (4,392 meters) and the most topographically prominent peak in the continental U.S. Washington is a leading producer of timber. Its rough surface is full of Douglas fir, hemlock, ponderosa pine, white pine, spruce, larch, and cedar stands. The state is the largest producer of apples, hops, pears, red raspberries, spearmint oil, and sweet cherries in the United States, and ranks high in apricots, asparagus, dry edible peas, grapes, lentils, peppermint oil, and potatoes production. Livestock and livestock products contribute significantly to total farm profits, and trade in salmon, halibut, and bottom fish contributes significantly to the state's economy.
Washington's climate, as mentioned above, varies greatly from west to east. Across western Washington, a Mediterranean climate prevails, and a much drier semi-arid climate prevails east of the Cascade Range. Major determinants of the climate in Washington include the North Pacific Ocean's large semi-permanent high-pressure and low-pressure systems, North America's continental air masses, and the Olympic and Cascade mountains. In the spring and summer, the North Pacific Ocean is dominated by a high pressure anticyclone cycle, causing air to spiral out clockwise. It ensures the prevailing northwest winds carry relatively cool weather and a reliably dry season for Washington.
Three recent studies by the Department of Ecology in Washington State found toxic chemicals that were banned decades ago persist in the atmosphere and accumulate in the food chain. State government researchers found unacceptable levels of toxic materials in 93 freshwater fish specimens from 45 sites in one of the tests. The toxic substances included PCBs; dioxins, DDE and dieldrin, two chlorinated pesticides, and PBDEs. The department will investigate the origins of PCBs in the Wenatchee River as a result of the report, where dangerous amounts of PCBs have been detected in whitefish mountains. The Washington State Department of Health recommends the public not to eat mountain whitefish from the Wenatchee River downstream from Leavenworth to where the river meets Columbia due to unhealthy levels of PCBs, based on the 2007 data and an earlier 2004 Ecology report. Results of the study also revealed high levels of pollutants in fish tissue collected by scientists from Lake Washington and the Spokane River, where advisories for fish consumption are already in place.Read: Washington Wikipedia Page