About 92% of the Southwest is experiencing some level of drought, compared to about 48% at this time last year, according to Brian Fuchs, a climate scientist at the National Drought Mitigation Center, in a webinar Monday.
All of California is currently in a drought, while just under half was experiencing dry conditions a year ago. About 73% of the state is facing extreme or exceptional drought, the top categories of the U.S. Drought Monitor. Last year it was just 3%.
“If you recall a year ago, what really brought this drought into its own realm was just how hot it was in the summer months through the desert Southwest,” said Fuchs. “And, seeing a very similar signal this summer, that doesn't bode well.”
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Some areas will see the impacts of the drought “really increase” with that strong heat, especially if the monsoon season continues to be just as disappointing as the last couple of years have been, he explained. Predictions for June are showing above normal temperatures across much of the West.