Western parts of U.S. facing “Mega-Drought”
The west has been in extreme drought for some time, but for some parts of the region, it is nothing new. One analyst says that this weather is shaping up differently, and dubs the situation as a “mega-drought.”
According to Water Resources Research Chair, Dr. John Pomeroy, “This drought extends across Canada, from southern Quebec to Vancouver Island, then also south. The greatest severity is actually in the southwestern United States, with the second severe area in North Dakota which extends northward into Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Last summer was very dry in many parts of the Prairies and then a relatively dry winter, and that means moisture-depth in the soils is very, very low. We’ve already lost pot-hole slues in many of the wetlands and some of the dug-outs have gone dry. Many of them were simply dry in May.”
Dr. Pomeroy says that the number of multiple-day rainstorms has increased 50 percent in the prairie provinces since the 1950s with a longer stretch between those rain events. He says that is a difficult prescription for producers to work with.