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Exceptional Drought Levels Move Toward Zero In U.S.

At one point, the U.S. Drought Monitor map showed the presence of “exceptional drought”, the worst category designated by researchers, across much of California and a large portion of the areas of northern Texas and Oklahoma. A look at the map today shows neither of those areas has a drought problem at all. “Exceptional drought” has become a rarity across the country. The current U.S. Drought Monitor map shows relatively small areas of “exceptional drought” in a part of North Dakota and a tiny sliver of northeast Montana.

The Status of the Drought and Atmoshperic Rivers

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor (July 11), less than 32 percent of the state faces drought conditions and only 1 percent of the state is experiencing “severe” drought. Nowhere in the state are we experiencing “exceptional” or “extreme” drought. Governor Jerry Brown ended the drought state of emergency in most of California on April 7. A year ago, more than 90 percent of the state was in some form of drought. The drought’s end comes thanks in large part to so-called atmospheric rivers (AR) — warm weather systems that flow east from Hawaii and the western Pacific.

Delta Survives Latest ‘Test’

The engineers who scrambled to prevent Delta farms from flooding this year have long insisted that the levees surrounding those low-lying islands are not as fragile as they’re sometimes portrayed to be. Now, after seven months of high water without a single major island flooding, those engineers feel validated. “We hear so many bad things about the levees,” said engineer Gilbert Cosio, who works for a number of the rural reclamation districts run by farmers. “But we’ve been doing a lot of good the last 30 years. This kind of proves it. This was not the disaster it could have been.”