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It includes large areas of semiarid steppe and a few truly arid deserts in the rain shadow of the Cascades; the Hanford reservation receives an average annual precipitation of 6 to 7 inches (150 to 180 mm).
Farther east, the climate becomes less arid, with annual rainfall increasing as one goes east to 21.2 inches (540 mm) in Pullman, near the Washington-Idaho border.
From the Cascade Mountains westward, Western Washington has a mostly Mediterranean Climate, with mild temperatures and wet winters, autumns and springs, and relatively dry summers. Western Washington also is home of the Olympic Mountains, far west on the Olympic Peninsula, which support dense forests of conifers and areas of temperate rainforest.
The territory was to be named "Columbia", for the Columbia River and the Columbia District, but Kentucky representative Richard H.
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.
The state is also one of eight in the country to have criminalized the sale, possession and transfer of bump stocks, with California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Maryland, and Massachusetts also having banned these devices.
Washington was named after President George Washington by an act of the United States Congress during the creation of Washington Territory in 1853.