A quick look at the U.S. Drought monitor says it all. For the vast majority of the country, the years-long drought has been all but eliminated. A year ago, 13 percent of the contiguous U.S. was locked in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, the two most severe stages. All of this area was west of the Mississippi, and concentrated most severely in the southern plains states of Texas and Oklahoma and then westward to California.
With the extreme shift in the weather pattern experienced this crop year, the two worst levels of drought have been all but eliminated in the entire contiguous U.S., with the exceptions of California and Nevada.
California remains in desperate shape, with fully 70 percent of the state locked in extreme or exceptional drought, with the entire state remaining in some level of precipitation deficiency. California farmers are scrambling to submit plans to reduce their water consumption, hoping to stave off deeper, mandatory cuts that could come down pipeline from the Governor.
To accomplish this, farmers are opting to plant less water intensive crops and some have decided to leave fields unplanted altogether. The Golden state’s cities and businesses have been ordered to reduce their water consumption already by 25 percent.
Although California grows roughly half of the vegetables, nuts and fruits consumed in the U.S., the drought has yet to send food prices skyrocketing since farmers in other regions are making up the difference.