68% Western & 88% Southeastern US in Drought - May 2012

The record warmth of March in the US as well as the warmth of April was more than just a set of numbers or a temporarily interesting headline.  Along with the heat, precipitation for most of the southern half of the country has been below average in the past few months.  The result?  At least some level of drought conditions exists today:

The Pacific Northwest had below average temperatures and above average precipitation during the same time period, thus the relative lack of drought in OR, WA, ID, MT & WY.

Drought has been present across GA for the better part of a year now.  The area affected by drought has expanded to neighboring states during the end of the winter and beginning of spring.

The area experiencing exceptional drought has fallen slightly in the West since April while the area has expanded slightly in the Southwest.  I will note that more than 50% of the Northeast is also currently experiencing some level of drought conditions.

There's no crisis to speak of yet, but inhabitants as well as policymakers should monitor conditions as the year progresses.  These conditions are not a result of climate change in any direct way.  They are simply a result of a chain of events, some of which (e.g. Arctic ice loss in recent years) are more directly related to climate change than others.

Cross-posted at WeatherDem - the blog.

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