Improvements in drought conditions across the U.S.

United States
Published:  21 November, 2018

The Drought Monitor of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reported improvements across parts of the U.S. Southeast, Northeast, Northern Plains, the Rockies, and Desert Southwest. 

Snow shower activity is reported to have continued over the past week in the central and southern areas of the Rocky Mountains; drought-stricken areas of Colorado and New Mexico. The persistent dry conditions in California are said to have led to an expansion of drought areas in the northern parts of the state, where a wildfire broke out in the Sierra Nevada foothills earlier in November, leading to destruction of the Paradise community. The so-called Camp Fire is said to be the most deadly and destructive fire in the state's history. So far, 84 people have been reported dead and over 800 are still missing, with 11,000 homes destroyed.

In the Southeast, widespread rain shower activity has helped alleviate areas of dryness in Alabama and Georgia, while short-term precipitation deficits led to expansion of drought in portions of Florida.      

In a move to prevent future wildfires, the Trump administration is said to be planning on opening more U.S. forests to livestock grazing. However, some congressmen claim the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been prioritising agribusiness over the environment. Some agricultural industry experts say that clearing out the underbrush and long grasses could prevent fires from spreading, while environmentalists claim grazing animals could result in more flammable plants spreading over a wider area. So far, studies have been inconclusive.