With the summer season just beginning, drought conditions are being labeled as severe or exceptional over most of the American Southwest including California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and western Colorado. In the coast ranges of northern California, river streamflows are now mostly below the second percentile, and soil conditions are below the first percentile. Stock ponds are running dry, and many farmers are being forced to haul water to livestock.
This past winter and spring, the wet season was mostly a failure. Summer and fall comprise the dry season across most of the Southwest, so there is virtually no chance for rain until late fall. The dry season is also the fire season in the Southwest. We have all heard and read about the devastating California wildfires in recent years, and this is setting up to be another very bad one.