Crops are dying and the risk of wildfires increases as nearly 50% of the US and 74 million people experience drought – and experts warn conditions will only get worse
- About 44% of the US is experiencing some degree of drought
- Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and California are ‘serious to exceptional’
- These statistics have seen major droughts in 2020 that will continue until this year
- Droughts are due to a weak summer monsoon season and persistent La Niña
Nearly 50 percent of the US is experiencing some degree of drought that sets the perfect scene for intense wildfires and scorched croplands, experts warn.
The US Drought Monitor shows that the Pacific coast all the way to the Great Plains and the upper Midwest are currently in ‘moderate to exceptional’ categories, with Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and California among the hardest hit states.
Weather officials point to a weak summer monsoon season last year and ongoing conditions in La Niña as the biggest contributors.
About 74 million Americans live in these regions, and many rely on the Colorado River to drink and irrigate crops that are currently below normal water levels.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also notes that above average temperatures are expected across the US that could spread the drought to every corner of the country.
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Nearly 50 percent of the US is experiencing some degree of drought that experts fear will worsen in the coming months. Maps show that Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, and California are among the hardest hit states
Droughts are typical in the US around this time, but many of the regions are still suffering from last year’s drought.
In 11 western states, about 75 percent of the land is in drought, covering more than 44 percent of the nation, Bloomberg reports.
This year is also considered the seventh driest spring in seven years due to climate change according to experts.
The lack of precipitation and La Niña are not only affecting the agricultural sector, but data shows that the snow pack in the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada is shrinking and forest fires along the west coast are getting worse.
California’s reservoirs are below the historical average due to a lack of winter storms and less snow in the Sierra Nevada
And about 35 million Americans depend on these water sources, either for drinking or for farming
What is La Niña?
A weather pattern that occurs every three to seven years in the Pacific.
It creates abnormally strong winds that make the ocean colder than usual.
This small change in temperature can cause local weather patterns around the world, including torrential rains, falling temperatures and cyclones.
Normally, rain clouds form over warm ocean water. La Niña blows all this warm water into the western Pacific.
This means that places like Indonesia, Australia and southern Africa can get a lot more rain than usual.
It usually unfolds during late fall or early winter.
California’s reservoirs are below the historical average due to a lack of winter storms and less snow in the Sierra Nevada.
And about 35 million Americans depend on these water sources, either for drinking or for farming.
Data from the US Drought Monitor shows that this is the fifth consecutive month of below average rain and snow for the area.
Travel west of the Golden State and it doesn’t seem any better.
Mary Erickson, deputy director of the National Weather Service, said: “ Already experiencing widespread severe to exceptional drought, the US Southwest will remain the hardest hit region in the US, and water supplies will be a concern this spring. stay. areas affected by drought. ‘
This is a big change from recent years when millions were affected by severe flooding.
“Nonetheless, NOAA’s forecasts and outlook will continue to serve as a resource for emergency managers and community decision-makers as they navigate through all kinds of extreme seasonal weather and water events.”
Five states – Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona and California – had their fifth hottest year in 2020, along with the most dire.
And the weather conditions have passed into this year and linger in the spring months.
About 74 million Americans live in these regions, and many rely on the Colorado River (pictured) to drink and irrigate crops that are currently below normal water levels.
About 85 percent of Arizona is experiencing “exceptional to extreme” drought – compared to just 30 percent this time last year. All of Utah is in drought, with 90 percent of the state in the ‘extreme’ category
About 85 percent of Arizona is experiencing “exceptional to extreme” drought – compared to just 30 percent this time last year.
Officials fear the drought could open Arizona for a devastating wildfire season this summer.
Just over the border in the north is Utah, which is all in a moderate drought category, with more than 90 percent of the state considered “ extreme. ”