2021 Drought Monitor: How Dry Is It In Douglas County? — MSN

From MSN (Amber Fisher):

For the week ending June 1, 30 U.S. states were experiencing drought conditions described as moderate or worse, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But rainfall has left Denver’s metro area and eastern Colorado drought free — at least for now.

Some [western] Colorado counties — such as Moffat, Rio Blanco, Garfield and Delta counties — are facing extreme drought conditions, according to the latest weekly report released June 1 by the National Drought Mitigation Center…

Nationally, nearly 39 percent of the United States was experiencing some type of drought for the week ending June 1, according to the latest NOAA data. In addition to 93 million people, more than 73 million acres of crops are being affected by the dry conditions.

Last week, rain brought respite to much of the Great Plains; however, as extreme heat moves into the dry West and Northern Plains, NOAA forecasters warn that drought may intensify.

Meanwhile, in the Southeast, dryness and drought have been steadily spreading in Virginia, the Carolinas and Florida…

The worst areas of drought are in Southwest states, where parts of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and western Colorado are experiencing extreme or exceptionally severe drought conditions, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center…

So what exactly is drought?

Drought is defined as a lack of precipitation such as rain, snow or sleet over a period that typically results in a water shortage. While drought usually stems from an area’s specific weather pattern, it can also be triggered by human activity such as water use and management.

Behind hurricanes, drought is the second-most-costly form of natural disaster in the United States, exacting an average toll of $9.6 billion in damage and loss per event, according to statistics from the National Centers for Environmental Information.

Usually, some level of drought has some part of the country in its grip.

During the historic dry spell of 2012 — the nation’s most extensive since the 1930s — as much as two-thirds of the country was affected by drought at its peak.

U.S. droughts can sometimes last longer than a season. From 2012 to 2016, scant rainfall and record-breaking heat in California created what is estimated to have been the state’s worst drought in 1,200 years, according to the National Resources Defense Council…

About 70 percent of the annual precipitation returns to the atmosphere by evaporation from land and water surfaces and by vapor from vegetation. The remaining 30 percent eventually reaches a stream, lake or ocean due to runoff during and immediately after rain, as well as soaking into the ground.

If you’ve ever wondered where a raindrop ends up when it falls in Colorado, check out this interactive map developed by data analyst Sam Learner that traces the path of a raindrop depending on where it falls.

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