Mapping exceptional drought conditions

April 6, 2015

As government websites go, the U.S. Drought Portal sounds full of promise. Fun even.

But alas, recent news from the site’s weekly reports on things like U.S. drought conditions and wildfire risks, has been anything but fun.

As this Reuters graphic shows, more than half of the U.S. is affected by water shortages, and the problem is growing worseThe number of people affected by extreme or exceptional drought conditions is approaching 40 million, many of those in California, where Gov. Jerry Brown last week ordered a 25 percent cut in domestic water use for the first time in state history.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, California’s 2014 Water Year was the third driest in 119 years and the warmest on record, so perpetual wildfire season looks like the new normalAnd there’s little relief on the horizon: The National Weather Service’s seasonal drought outlook predicts developing, persisting or intensifying drought conditions for most of the American West through at least the end of June.


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