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Weather during the cold season is greatly influenced by the Southern Oscillation.During the El Niño phase, the jet stream enters the U. farther south through California, therefore late fall and winter are drier than normal with less snowpack.Washington is the northwestern-most state of the contiguous United States.It borders Idaho to the east, bounded mostly by the meridian running north from the confluence of the Snake River and Clearwater River (about 116°57' west), except for the southernmost section where the border follows the Snake River.Washington is the second most populous state on the West Coast and in the Western United States, after California.Mount Rainier, an active stratovolcano, is the state's highest elevation at almost 14,411 feet (4,392 m) and is the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous United States. Its rugged surface is rich in stands of Douglas fir, hemlock, ponderosa pine, white pine, spruce, larch, and cedar.During these events western Washington experienced up to 6 feet (1.8 m) of snow, sub-zero (−18 °C) temperatures, three months with snow on the ground, and lakes and rivers frozen over for weeks.Seattle's lowest officially recorded temperature is 0 °F (−18 °C) set on January 31, 1950, but low-altitude areas approximately three hours away from Seattle have recorded lows as cold as −48 °F (−44 °C).
The Okanogan Highlands and the rugged Kettle River Range and Selkirk Mountains cover much of the northeastern quadrant of the state.Stanton found the name too similar to the District of Columbia (the national capital, itself containing the city of Washington) and proposed naming the new territory after President Washington.Confusion over the state of Washington and the city of Washington, D. led to renaming proposals during the statehood process for Washington in 1889, including David Dudley Field II's suggestion to name the new state "Tacoma." These proposals failed to garner support. C.'s own statehood movement in the 21st century includes a proposal to use the name "State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth", which would conflict with the current state of Washington.Washington was named after President George Washington by an act of the United States Congress during the creation of Washington Territory in 1853.The territory was originally to be named "Columbia", for the Columbia River and the Columbia District, but Kentucky representative Richard H.