U.S. Drought Monitor
Map released: Thurs. September 16, 2021
Data valid: September 14, 2021 at 8 a.m. EDT

Intensity

  • None
  • D0 (Abnormally Dry)
  • D1 (Moderate Drought)
  • D2 (Severe Drought)
  • D3 (Extreme Drought)
  • D4 (Exceptional Drought)
  • No Data

Authors

United States and Puerto Rico Author(s):

Pacific Islands and Virgin Islands Author(s):

The Drought Monitor focuses on broad-scale conditions. Local conditions may vary. See accompanying text summary for forecast statements.

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Statistics

Estimated Population in Drought Areas:

West Drought Summary

Any benefit from patchy rainfall across northern California and the interior Northwest was largely offset by above-normal temperatures. Still, with rainfall totaling 0.37 inch on September 10, Redding, California, experienced its wettest day since April 25, when 0.39 inch fell. Record-setting rainfall totals for September 10 included 0.63 inch in Ephrata, Washington; 0.61 inch in Redmond, Oregon; and 0.26 inch in Red Bluff, California. Most areas of the West had no change in the drought depiction; however, changes in the Northwest were a mix of slight improvement and minor degradation, mostly due to assessment of earlier precipitation events, water-supply reports, and vegetation health. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, topsoil moisture was rated 100% very short to short on September 12 in Washington, followed by 96% in Montana, 85% in California, 83% in Oregon, 79% in Wyoming, and 73% in Idaho. Meanwhile, USDA reported that at least one-half of the acreage devoted to rangeland and pastures was rated in very poor to poor condition is eight of the eleven Western States, led by Washington (96%), Montana (88%), and Oregon (87%). At the end of August, California’s 154 intrastate reservoirs contained 13.8 million acre-feet of water, just 60% of average for the date. Preliminary reports indicated that statewide reservoir holdings were less than one-half of the end-of-August average in Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon. Meanwhile, several dangerous wildfires remained active across northern California and the Northwest. Nationally, year-to-date wildfires through mid-September had charred more than 5.6 million acres of vegetation. Even as Western wildfire activity has slightly waned in recent days, broad reductions in air quality have continued in parts of the region. Four of California’s active wildfires—the Dixie (more than 960,000 acres), Caldor (219,000 acres), Monument Fires (215,000 acres), along with the River Complex (187,000 acres)—were among the twenty largest blazes in state history. The Dixie Fire, initially sparked on July 13, has burned a vast area near Lake Almanor and has made several impressive runs while threatening to become the largest wildfire in California history. That blaze has also destroyed more than 1,300 structures. The Caldor Fire, which was ignited on August 14 just south of Grizzly Flats, California, has destroyed more than 1,000 structures—only the seventeenth wildfire in state history to do so.

Full Summary

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