Once again this week, much of the West remained dry. Where precipitation did fall, in the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies, it either missed the drought-inflicted areas or wasn’t enough to overcome shortages. The only exception was in north-central Wyoming and southern Montana, where last week’s snowfall lessened precipitation deficits and improved streamflow and soil moisture resulting in a one-category improvement to drought. In eastern Washington, D0 (abnormally dryness), D1 (moderate) and D2 (severe) drought expanded as precipitation deficits continued to increase, drying out soils and lowering streamflow. Conditions once again deteriorated in Oregon this week with expansions in D2, D3 (extreme) and D4 (exceptional drought). The warm, dry winter added to deficits that had been in place for more than a year, leaving soils extremely dry and limiting runoff. Crop condition reports that counties in the D3 and D4 regions are “heading into their worst water year ever for irrigators with the potential for large amounts of acres left fallowed.” Little to no water for irrigation is expected for Upper Klamath Lake this year. Similarly, drought also expanded in Idaho where a lack of precipitation for almost two months has limited runoff, resulted in earlier than normal snowmelt and put short-term precipitation below the 10th percentile at many locations. Drought conditions also expanded in northern and central California. Another week without rainfall has continued to build upon longer deficits. Cooperative Extension notes that the majority of the season’s creeks aren’t flowing and that stock ponds are still dry. Decreases in water allocation and reduced or negligible forage are causing producers to respond by culling and selling herds. Drought conditions are also prompting Cal Fire to bring in fire crews earlier in the season. Other changes to this week’s map include an expansion of D1 in western Wyoming, and D1, D2 and D3 in eastern Montana reflect the lack of precipitation over the last two to three months and its effect on soil moisture and streamflow. In the Southwest, D4 was expanded over southeast Arizona as another week of hot, dry weather showed its impact on streamflow, soil moisture, and vegetation. It’s worth noting that high temperatures ranged from 10 to 20 degrees above normal last week and that many areas are now at record dry levels for the past 12 months.