What weather trends could be the root of the Western water crisis?

The drought continues to take a toll on much of the western U.S. and the region’s water supplies.

Water levels in Lake Mead have dropped to the lowest level since the Hoover Dam was built in the 1930s. You can see the difference in this comparison shared on Twitter. The left shows the water level in 1983, while the right shows the drastic difference seen last year, and conditions are now worse.

Millions of people in Arizona, California, and Nevada are now at risk to have no power, including farmers and ranchers. USDA Meteorologist, Brad Rippey, says reoccurring trends may be behind this shortage and can be seen on the drought monitor since it was established in 1979.

“In the last two decades plus, we have seen about three out of four years on average from California to the Southern Rockies as drought years, and with that string of drier than normal years, that has put a severe strain on western water supplies.”

Additional factors impacting weather trends include above-average temperatures and diminishing soil moisture levels.


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