APRIL UPDATE: Western States Almost Drought Free
In past articles we've disused the longer-term natural cycles that cause years of drought, followed by years of wet.
These cycles mostly have to do with the cycles of activity of the sun, causing the heating and cooling of the Pacific Ocean. Typically called La Nina and El Nino.
Coming out of drought usually happens quickly, according to local meteorologist Don Day, of Day Weather.
Last March 80% of Nevada was experiencing drought conditions.
Now, in April of 2023, 25%, of the state is in drought. Even that is not as severe as it was last summer.
Idaho’s drought level has dropped from 73% to about 32%.
Utah is in much better shape with 40% of the state is still considered to be in moderate drought.
New Mexico (32.2%).
To put it into visual perspective, here is where we were, not long ago.
Looks horrible, doesn't it?
The latest update from April 4th shows much improvement.
Reservoirs are filling.
A lot of snow still has to melt and more wet spring weather is on the way.
Despite all of the snow, 3 years of drought do not end all in one winter.
But it is nice to see these improvements.
Here is the latest Western drought map.
Areas to the east of these states, down the center of the country, are still in heavy drought.
“We are seeing over 100% of normal snowpack and precipitation levels,” said Follingstad, who’s based in Boulder, Colo.
Though most people use the word "normal," as you see above, what is really meant is 'above 30-year average.' It is perfectly normal to have this much snowpack. It just doesn't happen often.
What this means for water supplies will depend on the rate of snowmelt.
“If the melt occurs quickly, and we have flooding events, then that will eliminate the potential for good groundwater recharge because groundwater is recharged through slow infiltration,” Follingstad said.