Drought Update: January 2014

So far this winter, snow has been plentiful across the mid-west and northeastern US. In the western states, however, long-term drought continues to leave much of the region parched.

According to the latest report from the US Drought Monitor, 61% of the West is suffering under conditions of moderate drought.  In California, where 2013 was their driest year on record, the situation has gone from bad to worse. In just this past week, the category of extreme drought jumped from 28% to 63% of the entire state.

These dry conditions are not only lowering reservoir levels and reducing crop production, they are increasing the risk of wildfires.  In fact, a large fire broke out today in the San Gabriel Mountains near Glendora, CA – a heavily populated suburb of Los Angeles.

January is usually the wettest month of the year in southern California, but a persistent ridge of high pressure over the region has pushed the storm track north. Unfortunately, this dry weather pattern is forecast to remain in place for the near future.

Image Credit: US Drought Monitor

Image Credit: US Drought Monitor