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A summary of the current U.S. drought situation:
• On the plains and in the upper-Midwest, there is a sharp contrast between drought on the high plains and relatively wet conditions on the east-central plains. On the high plains, dry weather, combined with temperatures as high as 15 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, continues to apply stress to agriculture in the area. “In Colorado, USDA/NASS reported as of March 28 that pastures and rangeland rated 58 percent very poor to poor, a slight improvement from last year at this time (77 percent very poor to poor) but significantly worse than the five-year average of 36 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of winter wheat rated very poor to poor included 61 percent in Colorado, 30 percent in Texas, and 28 percent in both Kansas and Nebraska.”
• Despite a reduction of drought in northwestern Missouri, from severe to moderate drought (D2 to D1), there are still serious groundwater shortages and long-term precipitation deficits.
• The West continues to experience warmer-than-normal weather, with more than 50 daily-record highs recorded in areas from Washington to California and Arizona, from March 23-29. Exceptional drought (D3 to D4) is currently affecting an area from parts of central and western Montana southward through the Great Basin and the Intermountain region into northern Arizona and much of New Mexico.
• The National Weather Service is forecasting little or no relief for most of the West.
Most interesting regarding the continued drought in the U.S., is the amount of time it takes for a continued drought to begin to dramatically affect a nation. Many Americans are simply not aware of the severity of the situation. How much longer before the food supply is significantly affected? How many farmers are nearing the brink of economic disaster? If the U.S. economy, and agriculture as a part of it, is in a fragile state, what will happen when the nation faces its next calamity?
Source: Drought Monitor