Drought conditions continue to improve across the US West
Thanks to wet weather patterns that drenched parts of the West this past week, drought conditions across the region continue to subside, federal meteorologists declared on Thursday.
“Another week with massive drought improvements out West,” the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) tweeted. “Every state in the region saw drought shrink.”
Just 48.9 percent of Nevada and 29.2 percent of Idaho are now experiencing drought, as opposed to 79.5 percent and 73.3 percent last week, respectively, according to NIDIS, a multi-agency partnership led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Only 35.62 percent of the West as a whole is currently in drought — compared to 45.77 percent last week, according to NIDIS.
NIDIS’s report builds off of data published on Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor, which reported significant shifts for the better over the past week.
“After the wet pattern continued in parts of the West this week, building off of widespread wet and snowy weather this winter, widespread improvements were made to the drought depiction,” the Drought Monitor stated.
The biggest improvements occurred in northern California, northern Nevada, southern Idaho and Utah, according to the Drought Monitor, which is a Nebraska-based collaboration of the National Drought Mitigation Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and NOAA.
Just 28.11 percent of California was experiencing drought, a sizable drop from 35.88 percent last week, per the Drought Monitor.
Large areas of the Intermountain West also saw improvements this past week, as long-term precipitation deficits dropped and snowpack remained high, the Drought Monitor reported.
At the same time, however, the meteorologists warned that “drought and abnormally dry conditions” remain or even worsened east of the Rockies, particularly in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.
Severe drought conditions have also expanded in the Florida peninsula, while short- and long-term drought and dryness grew in the Mid-Atlantic and in Puerto Rico.
Nonetheless, NIDS reported that just 25.65 percent of the U.S. is in drought this week — down 11.1 percent since last week and 20.2 percent since last month.
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