Widespread U.S. Drought

Drought, an extended period of below average precipitation, has been plaguing many parts of the United States this summer.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 61% of this country is currently suffering in a state of moderate drought or worse. This is the largest area ever recorded in the monitor’s twelve-year history.

Experts say that this year’s widespread drought has been developing for months and cite the unusual position of the jet stream as a key factor.   Often referred to as the “storm track”, the jet stream typically travels across the middle of the country in winter and spring, bringing vital snow and rain to the region. This year, however, it has been persistently flowing far to the north.  As a result, abnormally hot and dry conditions have been dominating much of the nation.

Without any soaking rains in the forecast, this drought is expected to get worse before it gets better.

Image Credit: US Drought Monitor

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About Melissa Fleming

Melissa Fleming is an environmental communicator and visual artist working at the intersection of art and science. She is passionate about exploring, learning, and sharing information about the natural world. She has presented her interdisciplinary work in a variety of mediums at venues and conferences around the world.