Western Drought Spreading
January 17, 2014

The worst drought in four decades that has fueled concerns about water availability in California appears to be spreading north and east, according to the latest statistics from the National Drought Mitigation Center. 
 
"Despite the arrival of rain and high-elevation snow in the Northwest, drought persisted or intensified across the region," the NDMC said in its Jan. 14 National Drought Summary. "The most notable drought increases were from central California into the Pacific Northwest." 
 
"Farther south, a disappointing water year continued, with warm, dry weather firmly entrenched from central and southern California into the Great Basin," the NDMC said. "Extreme drought expanded across much of central and northern California into northwestern Nevada. Soil moisture across the northern two-thirds of California remained in very short supply. 
 
"Overall, the United States is faring pretty well. In comments from Jan. 9, the NDMC said 33 percent of the contiguous 48 states were in drought, up from 31 percent a week earlier and from 30 percent on Dec. 10, "which was the least area in drought for any week of 2013 and the smallest drought coverage since Dec. 27, 2011." 
 
But the West, especially California, hasn't fared so well, with record dry conditions in 2013 persisting into 2014. 
 
Reprinted in part from MeatPoultry.com