Southwest drought worsens as hot June weather arrives
Friday, June 1, 2018, 19:02 - June is here and the heat is on across many areas of the southern U.S., including the Four Corner states.
Despite some recent precipitation, which helped lower drought numbers in some counties, overall conditions continue to intensify and expand. Rivers and watering holes across different areas of Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico are drying up, forcing the closure of popular mountain recreation areas. Water restrictions are becoming the norm across the region.
Meteorologists, climatologists and hydrologists agree that this usually arid region of the U.S. is the hardest hit this 2018, and despite the summer monsoon rains arriving soon, they may not do the job given the current situation.
Portions of the Four Corner states are seeing record dry conditions. The warmer temperatures have made things even worse, causing soils to dry out, while water demand increases.
The drought has also hit the Colorado River basin hard, which is expected to carry only 43 per cent of its average amount of water to Lake Powell, one of the main reservoirs that supplies water to California.
In New Mexico, the intense drought is seriously affecting several stretches of the Rio Grande, one of the longest rivers in the U.S. This summer, the river could dry up as far north as Albuquerque. Home to over half a million people, it is the most populated city in the state. Biologists are working nonstop to move several endangered species from drought affected areas upstream at least during the summer months.
High heat and low humidity increase wildfire risk across the U.S. Southwest
Above normal temperatures and low humidity values this week have made the wildfire alarms sound across a large swath of land. During the first few days of the month as temperatures soar into the 100s, critical conditions are expected to extend into much of southern Colorado and north-central New Mexico. The risk will also keep locals on alert in portions of eastern Arizona and western Texas.
NOAA Storm Prediction Center's Fire Outlook for June 1
June is one of the hottest months in the southwest, as solar radiation becomes especially intense with the arrival of the summer solstice and before the cooling of the monsoon rains. With these conditions the wildfire potential is expected to be high, especially across the Four Corner states and into California, Nevada and portions of Texas and Idaho.
If you plan to enjoy the outdoors in any of the amazing states, be especially careful handling fire, stay as hydrated as possible, use a high value sunscreen, and avoid the intense heat hours.