More than 75% of the land within the continental United States and Hawaii is considered “abnormally dry” or worse in the latest Drought Monitor update, with portions of the western United States moving deeper into extreme drought conditions. The latest Drought Monitor update shows how drought conditions continue to worsen across a large part of the U.S. with only an area around the Ohio Valley free of abnormally dry conditions. The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
While recent storm systems and frontal passages have dropped some precipitation throughout the United States, they haven’t been significant enough to put a dent into widespread dry conditions. In just the last week, the amount of abnormally dry space over the U.S. grew by almost 1%, putting 75.13% of the continental U.S. and Hawaii into abnormally dry, moderate drought, severe drought, extreme drought, or exceptional drought conditions. The worst side of the scale got worse too, with just over 19% of the country now in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought status.
Many states are now suffering from “exceptional” drought status. Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Kansas now include exceptional drought conditions while California has seen the amount of “extreme” drought status expand in recent days.
Even normally wet and tropical Hawaii is seeing unusual dry conditions even though this time of year is typically the “wet season” for the islands. All 4 major islands of Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii are currently experiencing areas where severe drought conditions persist.
One place not seeing any drought is Alaska. Alaska remains drought-free in the latest Drought Monitor update. Despite temperatures running well above-normal in recent weeks, snowpack is still well above-normal and in some cases at record high levels.