The catastrophic drought of 2012 has lingered on in some parts of the United States, while other areas of the country have slipped back into dry conditions. U.S. Drought Monitor statistics released recently show that approximately half of the contiguous U.S. now suffers some degree of drought.
Multi-year drought tortures the western half of the United States, especially in portions of Texas, western Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, California and the Four Corners states, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor's latest maps. These ongoing dry conditions contributed to the wildfires that devoured forests and homes in the western United States this year.
However, there has been some improvement. Less of the western United States suffers under "exceptional" and "extreme" drought than at the start of this year. In January, The National Drought Mitigation Center classified 6.75 percent of the Lower 48 as in "exceptional" drought and 21.31 percent as "extreme." Those statistics have dropped to 1.25 percent and 9.86 percent, respectively.