Forecasting Change: Historic Western drought rages on

‘Abnormally dry’ status continues in Central Florida

U.S. drought monitor

ORLANDO, Fla. – In April, we have had only two days of rain in Orlando.

April rain

And since January 1, we are way behind the normal amount of rain.

Rainfall summary

And Florida is not alone in the dry department.

The Western states are having a historic drought, which has been building for more than a year.

Many parts of the West have been in drought conditions for more than 12 straight months, including Arizona, Colorado and Northern California. For those areas, it’s becoming the “new normal.”

Check out this graphic that shows just how bad the drought out West has become.

Western drought index

The graphic below shows just how bad things are on a national level.

In the South, more than a third of the areas now in a Moderate Drought. Take special note of Texas, as more than 69% of the state in a moderate drought or worse, and 20% of the state in the red “extreme drought” area.

U.S. drought monitor

When most people think of “climate change,” they only think of warming, but this drought trend is evidence that it will be more than just warming.

In previous editions of Forecasting Change, we have discussed heavier rain, more hurricanes and other effects. These prolonged dry periods are also part of the overall change that we all need to be aware of as we consider our future and what needs to be done to protect us, our families and our planet.

About the Author:

Tom Sorrells is News 6's Emmy award winning chief meteorologist. He pinpoints storms across Central Florida to keep residents safe from dangerous weather conditions.