U.S. Drought Monitor: Tale of Two Regions

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows a tale of two regions—the East and the West. The Western U.S., in the latest Drought Monitor released Thursday, shows much of the region in drought categories, with several areas classified in extreme or exceptional drought, the two most severe categories.

Comparatively, the Eastern U.S. is mostly drought-free from the Eastern seaboard to the Central Plains. Drawing a line from the eastern border of Texas to the North is where much of the trouble begins. Having missed out on rainfall, conditions continued to deteriorate in south-central Oklahoma and in North, South and West Texas. Meanwhile, much of the West remained dry. Where precipitation did fall, in the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies, it either missed the drought-inflicted areas or wasn’t enough to overcome shortages. Decreases in water allocation and reduced or negligible forage are causing livestock producers to respond by culling and selling herds. Fire crews are also arriving in California earlier than normal.