Drought worsens and expands in northwestern United States

Drought worsens and expands in northwestern United States

Drought conditions continue to worsen in the western United States, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, where areas in the worst categories experienced significant expansion.

“In part due to impressive drought-related impacts on agriculture, extreme to exceptional drought (D3 to D4) spread widely in and around eastern Washington,” according to the latest US Drought Monitor report. Published this Thursday morning.

In Washington state, which had no “exceptional drought” (level 4 of 4) on record until last week, it has seen it explode to cover more than a quarter (27%) of the state this week.

Oregon currently has 17% of the state in exceptional drought, an area that has nearly quadrupled this month and is the most on record for the state.

Across the west, more than two-thirds of the area falls under the highest extreme or exceptional drought categories, the most in history. The area under the worst two categories has expanded by 96,560 square kilometers, or about the size of the state of Georgia, during July.

More than 95% of the West in the US is in some type of drought category.

Heavy monsoon rains from the southwest have brought some improvement to the southwest, particularly parts of Arizona, New Mexico and southwestern Colorado, according to this week’s summary.

Further improvements are likely to be seen in this Four Corners region, as significant rains are forecast this week in Arizona and surrounding states. There are flash flood alerts for the next few days.

Ben Oakley
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