Almost two thirds of the continental United States remains under at least moderate drought this week, despite a Mid-West snowstorm.
“The snow is good, but in most instances it was less than one inch of liquid and if the soils are frozen, there will be little infiltration,” said Brian Fuchs, climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “Welcomed, yes. A big changer to the overall drought, not really,”
This is the part of immediate climate change that you’re not hearing enough about, while the aftermath of Sandy is still the lede in weather headlines (mostly now because Republicans want to slash federal aid) but you’re going to hear about it in Spring.
Before the snow storm hit late Wednesday, nearly 27 percent of the High Plains, was considered in the very worst level of drought, exceptional drought. Indeed, “severe,” and “extreme” levels of drought also crept higher over the last week, according to the Drought Monitor report. Severe drought was spread over 86.20 percent of the High Plains, up from 86.12 percent the week before, while extreme drought area was pegged at 59.98 percent of the region, up from 58.39 percent. Exceptional drought was pegged at 26.99 percent, up from 26.91 percent. Drought conditions were most pervasive in Nebraska, according to the Drought Monitor report. Overall, roughly 61.79 percent of the contiguous United States was in at least “moderate” drought, a slight improvement from 61.87 percent a week earlier.
In Spring, after the thaw and snowmelt dries up, winter deadwood will be tinder dry and ready for some humungous wildfires again. Right now, states should be doing controlled burns to establish firebreaks, but they’ve no money to do that because – well, because Republicans.