On July 21, NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS) co-hosted two webinars in collaboration with their federal, tribal, state, and local partners, focused on drought and heat in the West and the Southern Plains.
The first webinar, held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. MT on July 21, focused on the Western U.S. (Southwest, California, Pacific Northwest, Missouri River Basin, and Alaska).
This webinar provided the latest information on current drought, heat, and fire conditions and forecasts, as well as the serious impacts to diverse sectors of the economy and communities throughout the West. Perspectives from those on the ground who are responding to these worsening drought and heat conditions were also shared.
Over 75% of the Western U.S. and Southern Plains are in drought, according to the June 7 U.S. Drought Monitor. But that 75% only tells a portion of the story.
Most of the western U.S., including Southern Montana to northern Mexico and from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains, is experiencing the region's driest megadrought in at least 1,200 years. One of the key drivers intensifying this megadrought is climate change, as warmer temperatures are increasing evaporative demand and drying out soil and vegetation. Impacts are severe. Lakes Powell and Mead, along with the Great Salt Lake, are at record low levels; parts of California are facing unprecedented water restrictions; and New Mexico is currently dealing with the two largest wildfires in state history. As temperatures continue to rise over time, impacts are likely to worsen.
View the webinar agenda.
For more information, please contact Adam Lang (email@example.com).