After last summer’s prolonged drought, farmers, ranchers and officials had hoped for plentiful snow pack this winter. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Drought is expected to persist in the U.S. West during summer 2013. There has been little snow to replenish groundwater and refill rivers to ease one of the worst dry spells in American history.
Lakes are half full and mountain snow cover is thin causing concern for another summer of drought and wildfire. Reservoir levels are down markedly in Arizona, Colorado, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, where the ground is already abnormally dry. “We’re worse off than we were a year ago,” said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center.
Forecasters and farmers alike hope for wet Spring which would prime the soil for planting. “We only have a month or two, and we are so far behind it’s going to take storms of epic amounts just to get us back to what we would think of as normal.” said Andy Pineda of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District.
55.8 percent of the United States are still drier than they should be according to national assessments. The National oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said this week drought conditions had abated in most of the nation east of the Mississippi River, but the portion of the country still facing drought--most of the West and Florida—should expect it “to persist or intensify.”
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