Western nations have seen part of the climate crisis play out in the month scientists have warned about for years.
Amid a prolonged drought, which caused water shortages, one area, Yellowstone, was devastated in mid-June due to heavy rainfall and rapid snowfall that – instead of filling the soil in weeks or months – created a flood of light. Floods destroyed roads and bridges and caused extensive damage to one of the country’s most beloved parks.
Meanwhile, drought continued in the SouthwestSouthwest, where water was much needed to fill the country’s largest lakes and relieve the victims of the historic veld fires.
A recent update to US Drought Monitor on Thursday showed significant differences between the wet Northwest and the hot and dry SouthwestSouthwest. This variation of feast or hunger is a pattern of climate problems that often exacerbates it: it exaggerates both ends of the spectrum, and the pendulum sometimes moves abruptly from one side to the other.
Across the Pacific Northwest, drought conditions have improved significantly over the past few weeks, with areas with severe drought dropping from 55% in April to 25% this week.
“Most of the Northern Tier provinces have experienced beneficial rainfall and temperatures below normal, which has led to the development of drought from the Northwest Pacific to the North Plains,” notes Drought Monitor.
But this continuous and continuous storm track, which continues to bring rain and snow to the Northwest, greatly misses California and the Southwest.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced this week that Arizona, Nevada, and California would see even more significant cuts in their Colorado River water allocations from next year.
Government officials make those decisions year after year in August. Lake Mead, the world’s most significant waterfront, which serves millions of people in the SouthwestSouthwest, is already operating at a lower rate than last year, even in its worst cases. Last August, the office predicted that the lake would likely be 1,059 meters above sea level by the end of this month and that it would be 1,057 meters at worst. But now it is 1,045 meters.