The drought hitting 40 percent of the entire country, in 5 maps

With a hot summer and wildfire season right around the corner, huge chunks of the western United States are experiencing record droughts. Parts of California, Nevada and Arizona are drier than they have been in 1,200 years, putting at risk millions of acres of farm and forest lands.

Every inch of five states — California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Nebraska — are experiencing some level of drought. Much of the northern Texas Panhandle is under extreme or exceptional drought warning, as is most of California and parts of northern Nevada. A weekly snapshot of drought conditions shows 21 percent of the country is experiencing severe drought or worse; all told, 40.9 percent of the country is under some kind of drought watch or warning.

Here’s the national map, produced weekly by a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Agriculture Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

Here’s the Western United States, where things are particularly bad:


Nebraska and Kansas are experiencing serious drought conditions:


And Texas and Oklahoma are dry as a bone:


California’s plight is particularly bad. Two-thirds of the state are experiencing extreme or exceptional drought. Not a single acre of the state’s land has a normal amount of precipitation.


Reid Wilson covers state politics and policy for the Washington Post's GovBeat blog. He's a former editor in chief of The Hotline, the premier tip sheet on campaigns and elections, and he's a complete political junkie.
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