Western U.S. Stress by Drought

The Western half of the United States is reported in various stages of drought in the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, released Thursday. Much of the Southwestern U.S. is in a classified extreme or exceptional drought, with the worst states being Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. The Drought Monitor reports frequent Pacific storms battered the Northwest and tracked southeastward across the Northern and Central Rockies, dropping plentiful moisture on Washington, Oregon, northern California, Idaho, and western Montana. However, the moisture missed most of the Southwest. In contrast, much of the Eastern half of the country is not experiencing drought conditions, with a few small pockets of abnormally dry conditions. Storms also dropped widespread precipitation on much of the Southeast, mid-Atlantic, and coastal New England, while most of the Midwest saw light frozen precipitation in the last week. Little or no precipitation fell on south Texas and northeastern Texas into southeastern Oklahoma, expanding drought severity in the region.