West Drought Summary
In California, several dangerous and destructive wildfires broke out in both southern and northern California during the past week. In Butte County in northern California, the Camp Fire devastated the Sierra Nevada foothill community of Paradise – destroying nearly the entire community including 7,600 homes. According to CAL FIRE, the fire has burned in excess of 130,000 acres (35% contained) and has been responsible so far for the loss of 48 lives – making it the deadliest wildfire in California history. North of Los Angeles, the Woolsey Fire has burned 97,000 acres (40% contained) in and around the Santa Monica Mountains leading to the evacuation of more than 150,000 residents and destruction of >435 homes. Continued dry conditions in California led to expansion of an areas of Moderate Drought (D1) in the Sacramento Valley, extending to the western foothills of the northern Sierra Nevada. In the Rockies, widespread snow showers were observed in the Front Range and adjacent foothills as well as in the Sangre de Cristo Range, leading to improvements on the map in north-central and south-central Colorado. Overall, Colorado’s snowpack is off to a positive start with above-normal snow water equivalent (SWE) levels in the Front Range, Sangre de Cristos, and the Mosquito Range of central Colorado. In New Mexico, recent snowfall and above-normal SWE levels led to reduction of Extreme Drought (D3) in the north-central part of the state. In eastern New Mexico, recent storm activity and improved soil moisture levels have improved conditions leading to reduction in areas of Moderate Drought (D1) and Severe Drought (D2). In central Arizona, wet conditions during the past 90-days led to reduction in areas of Moderate Drought (D1). In the Northern Rockies near Glacier National Park, areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) were removed in response to above-normal SWE levels associated with recent snowfall. Average temperatures were below-normal across most of the region during the past week.
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