Drought in West is Worst Since 2013 and Predicted to Expand in WinterNews Type: State, Regional Source: Washington Post
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The largest and most intense drought in years is engulfing the West and threatens to grow larger and more severe in the coming months. The drought has already been a major contributor to record wildfire activity in California and Colorado. Its continuation could also deplete rivers, stifle crops and eventually drain water supplies in some Western states. Nationwide, drought has expanded to its greatest areal coverage since 2013; 72.5 million people are in areas affected by drought. More than one-third of the West is in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, the two most severe categories, according to the federal government’s U.S. Drought Monitor. In its winter outlook issued last week, the NOAA cautioned drought conditions are expected to persist or worsen over large parts of the West during the December through February period, and expand farther east into the central United States.