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Previous story Extreme drought worsens in West, with 'exceptional' conditions covering more than 26% of the region Next story
  New data shows the entirety of four states are under drought conditions -- Oregon, California, Utah and Nevada.   As the drought emergency continues in California, ranchers and farmers are beginning to see their wells and ponds dry up and are having to make modifications to their existing water resources or have water trucked in for their livestock.  


Story by John Keefe and Brandon Miller, CNN - Story Source
Published on Thursday June 10, 2021 - 11:16 AM
 
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(CNN) A very dry week with well-above average temperatures has worsened an already severe drought in the Western US, according to the US Drought Monitor.

New data shows the entirety of four states are under drought conditions -- California, Oregon, Utah and Nevada. Overall, drought is being experienced in 88% of the Western US as of this week. Scientists say persistent drought conditions in this region are being exacerbated by manmade climate change.

In addition to the critical water shortages this year's drought has caused, forecasters have raised concerns that the continued dry conditions will cause a particularly intense wildfire season. As of Thursday the Storm Prediction Center's fire weather outlook was classified as "critical" or "extreme" across parts of Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. "Warmer than normal temperatures dominated from California to the Dakotas with departures of 9-12 degrees above normal and even higher in the northern Plains," scientists with the US Drought Monitor wrote on Thursday. Areas of the South and southern Plains saw some improvement which was aided by rain and cooler temperatures...


Background

The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is updated each Thursday to show the location and intensity of drought across the country. This map shows drought conditions across Oregon using a five-category system, from Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions to Exceptional Drought (D4). The USDM is a joint effort of the National Drought Mitigation Center, USDA, and NOAA. Learn more.

The following state-specific drought impacts were compiled by the National Drought Mitigation Center. While these impacts are not exhaustive, they can help provide a clearer picture of drought in Oregon.

Drought occurs when rain, snow and other precipitation are lower than average for an extended period of time. Oregonians are familiar with drought, but climate changes are likely to increase the duration and effects.

The health impacts of drought are numerous and far reaching. Some drought-related health effects are experienced in the short-term and can be directly observed and measured. However, the slow rise or chronic nature of drought can result in longer term, indirect health risks that are not always easy to anticipate or monitor.

Drought results from prolonged periods of low precipitation, causing water shortages with implications for fish and wildlife, wildfire, and drinking water resulting in difficult decisions about how to ration water to make it through the dry season.

Those problems compound the longer drought persists, which is the issue currently facing the Klamath Basin. Year after year of drought has set the conditions for what could be one of the driest years there in the past century.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has declared a drought emergency in Klamath County and the U.S. Interior Department has promised "an all-hands-on-deck approach" to mitigating effects of drought in the region.