It is not often that “severe”, “extreme” or “exceptional” drought conditions are limited to only 1.6% of the continental US, but that is exactly what is currently taking place. Going back to the year 2000, only February and March of 2010 had similar limited drought conditions on a nationwide basis that we are enjoying today. In fact, the news may actually get better with the next “drought monitor” update as the numbers cited in today’s posting reflect only precipitation data registered through last Tuesday, April 4th and does not include the substantial rainfall that fell late last week in California and across the southern and eastern US.
Discussion on current and recent conditions
In recent years, much of the western US was suffering through widespread and deep drought conditions, but that has changed dramatically in recent months; especially, in the state of California. One year ago, much of California was in the midst of an “exceptional” drought – the worst category of drought as classified by NOAA – but all of that has changed dramatically this winter season with a tremendous amount of rainfall throughout the state. In fact, drought conditions have improved to the point that nowhere is the state classified by NOAA/NDMC as experiencing “exceptional” (D4) or “extreme” (D3) drought conditions and less than one percent of California is currently experiencing “severe” (D2) drought.