Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are predicting that a persistent drought will soon hit the American West and last through June.
Jon Gottschalk, the chief of the Operational Prediction Branch at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said the drought coverage will be the largest in the U.S. since 2013.
“Severe to exceptional drought has persisted in some areas of the West since the summer of 2020 and drought has expanded to the southern Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley, he also recently said.
“This is the largest drought coverage we’ve seen in the U.S. since 2013,” he added.
NOAA also said the drought will also increase the risk this spring of wildfires across the Southwest and the southern and Central plains, which could be worsened by dry conditions and strong winds.
The U.S. drought monitor indicates that about 62% of the country is now under “abnormally dry” conditions.
Beyond dry conditions, NOAA also is anticipating higher-than-average temperatures across most of the country this spring.