Drought conditions in some of the Western states are as bad as they have been in recorded history. The U.S. Drought Monitor measures conditions across the country, and the worst level of drought exists in large portions of California, Washington, and Oregon. Colorado and Montana have been hit hard. The worst situation is in Nevada. Over the next few months, however, the state that is about to get hit hard by drought is Florida.
Once a year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, issues its NOAA Winter Outlook. The outlook is for December of this year through February 2022 and covers three primary weather conditions: precipitation, temperature, and drought.
Temperatures are likely to be higher than normal across the South and lower than normal in the Northwest. Precipitation will likely be below normal from southern California across Arizona and New Mexico to southern Texas as well as in Florida. Precipitation is likely to be above average in the upper Midwest and Northwest. (These are the hottest inhabited places on Earth.)
In terms of drought, the NOAA forecast categorizes areas by five categories of drought tendency: none, develop, continue or worsen, improve, end.
Some states do not face drought and are not expected to. “The Pacific Northwest, northern California, the upper Midwest, and Hawaii are most likely to experience drought improvement,” according to the NOAA report.
In states where drought conditions are worst, however, conditions are likely to remain the same or deteriorate further. The situation is likely to worsen in the Dakotas. (These are the states with the strongest sunlight.)
The NOAA also marks several areas of the country as “developing drought.” These areas have largely been drought-free but are likely to be hit this winter. This category shows that drought will spread in Texas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. It will begin to appear in parts of North and South Carolina.
The state where drought is most likely to become widespread is Florida, where the entire southern half of the state is in danger.
To determine the states about to get hit hard by drought, 24/7 Wall St. used NOAA forecasts for states where drought will tend to “continue or worsen” or where drought will “develop.” Some states that already have drought conditions have other geographic areas that will develop drought during the forecasts.