[Ed. – Yeah, the record period is 17 whole years. One of the key problems with the “records” we keep setting on a 4-billion-year-old planet. But nevertheless, it was supposed to be 17 years of increasingly hot, dry conditions, with snow ceasing to fall and the water table vanishing. Not so much, as it turns out.]
Drought in the U.S. fell to a record low this week, with just 6.1% of the lower 48 states currently experiencing such dry conditions, federal officials announced Thursday.
That’s the lowest percentage in the 17-year history of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report. The previous record low occurred in July 2010, when 7.7% of the contiguous U.S. was in a drought.
“Drought has certainly been disappearing at a rapid rate this spring,” said meteorologist Brad Rippey of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The five-year drought in California is practically over, with only about 8% of the state currently in drought.
The strong El Niño of 2015-16 may have caused the initial decrease last year, he said. “El Niño is historically a ‘drought-breaker,’ while La Niña is a ‘drought-maker.’ ”