Drought has been plaguing the western and southwestern regions of the United States for months. Without any significant spring precipitation, the situation has gone from bad to worse.
According to the latest report from the US Drought Monitor, 100% of California – the entire state – is experiencing some form of drought. This is the first time this has happened in the Monitor’s 15-year history. Most of the state, 77%, is currently in extreme drought. That is up from 69% from just a week ago. Experts say this situation is unlikely to improve anytime soon now that California’s so-called rainy season has ended.
These parched conditions have serious implications for this nation’s third largest state. With a population of nearly 40 million people, drinking water supplies are at risk and the threat of wildfires are on the rise. As a major agricultural producer, the drought there will also have impacts across the country in terms of rising food prices.
Another hard hit area is Texas, especially in the panhandle. Currently, 86% of the Lone Star state is in drought and 13% is suffering under conditions of exceptional drought – the worst possible category.
The Drought Monitor is a weekly publication produced by a partnership of government agencies, including the National Drought Mitigation Center, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.