Drought conditions worsen in plains and upper midwest

A 53 foot waterfall in Minneapolis, was reduced to a runoff . Utah’s largest reservoirs are half full and falling. Almond growers in ...

A 53 foot waterfall in Minneapolis, was reduced to a runoff. Utah’s largest reservoirs are half full and falling. Almond growers in California are abandoning their dying trees as water becomes increasingly scarce.

Almost half of the land mass in the contiguous United States – 47 percent – knows Drought conditions, according to the last report from the US Drought Monitor, and the situation worsens in the Northern Plains and throughout west of the Rocky Mountains.

The Monitor, a collaboration of several federal agencies and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, ranks the severity of drought conditions from “moderate” to “exceptional” and its latest report moved parts of Minnesota in the worst category for the first time. Eight percent of the state’s land now falls within this description, and about 50 percent is in extreme drought, the next level.

Droughts are a part of life, especially in the American West, where they have occurred regularly over the centuries. But scientists say climate change, in the form of warming temperatures and changes in precipitation, is making the situation worse. What would be a moderate drought in a world without warming is now more serious.

For residents of St. Paul and many of its suburbs, the parched conditions mean those who live in odd-numbered addresses are only allowed to water their lawns on odd-numbered days of the month, and those with even-numbered addresses on even-numbered days. . Watering can only take place before noon or after 6 p.m. to minimize evaporation.

Northwest of Twin Cities, a hydroelectric dam in St. Cloud halted production last week for the first time since 1988 due to declining flows from the Mississippi River. The water levels are so low that boats risk scraping the bottom of rivers. Gov. Tim Walz said this month that Minnesota would receive $ 17 million in federal aid to help farmers, whose pastures were parched this summer.

While the National Meteorological Service is to predict moderate to heavy rain this week from Utah to northern Great Plains and western Minnesota, torrential rains in Utah last week and throughout the summer were not sufficient to provide relief there. drought conditions.

This is because a downpour of rain over a small area for a short time does not sink into the ground, where it can be absorbed by plants or drip into aquifers. Instead, it can lead to mudslides. “Utah reservoirs are highly unlikely to register any substantial gains before next spring’s runoff,” according to to the latest Natural Resources Conservation Service monthly water report.

The Drought is even more serious in California, which produces one-third of the country’s vegetable supply and two-thirds of its fruit. Nearly half of the state is in “exceptional” drought, against a third of the state in July.

California is particularly prolific in almonds, producing 80 percent of the world’s supply. But federal and state officials have cut water allocations, forcing farmers to change crops or abandon some orchards. The US Department of Agriculture valued in July this year’s almond harvest will be 10 percent lower than last year, lower than its previous forecast in May.

Drought is also preparing the state for dangerous forest fire conditions. This week, as many as 13,000 firefighters fought against 13 big forest fires which burned more than 1.54 million acres across the state, according to Cal Fire, the state firefighting agency.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Drought conditions worsen in plains and upper midwest
Drought conditions worsen in plains and upper midwest
Newsrust - US Top News
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