Western Water Supply Worries Continue
Drought continues to chart into record territory for the history of the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The current reading shows the most consecutive weeks, going back to September, with 40% or more of drought coverage, and the second most consecutive week period of 50% of the U.S. covered in drought. USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey says drought remains intense out West with 95% covered. For farmers and ranchers, it’s a warning signal for future water supplies.
“Things got off to a great start back in October, but then we transitioned into a mild, dry November. This storminess came back across the entire Western United States in December, especially the middle to latter part of the month. We saw a half a year’s worth of snowfall in the Sierra Nevada in just about three weeks time, but then as the calendar turned to 2022, things turned dry again across the West, and so we experienced a very dry January.”
Rippey says if that storm pattern doesn’t return by the end of February or March, much of the West could experience a third consecutive year of drought and very low snowpack levels. There won’t be enough water supply for the season. The next drought monitor will be out tomorrow.