Dry western weather increases U.S. drought coverage

Persistent dry conditions in the West led to an expansion of drought in the week that ended Jan. 7, with most of the recent change in Oregon and Washington. The map now shows 33.22 percent of the contiguous 48 states in drought, up from 30.28 percent on Dec. 10, which was the least area in drought for any week of 2013. Most of the recent increase in U.S. drought coverage has been due to a lack of cold-season precipitation in the West. In particular, drought coverage has sharply increased in Oregon, from 38 to 88 percent between Dec. 10 and Jan. 7. Similarly, Washington had no drought depicted on Dec. 10, but more than half (55 percent) of the state was experiencing drought on Jan. 7. Western drought concerns are most acute in those areas—including California—moving deeper into a third consecutive year of drought. …read more

Source: Drought