California witnessed record dry conditions in the January-June period, with 31 percent of its average precipitation, NOAA said. Wildfires burned more than 1 million acres in the West with hundreds of homes destroyed in Colorado.
Overall, 46.1 percent of the contiguous United States remains in drought, despite the new drought-free state east of the Mississippi River. The southeastern United States also became drought free for the first time since 2010, said Chris Fuhrmann, regional climatologist at the Southeast Regional Climate Center.
A deluge in the Southeast
"The footprint of the drought has changed little over the last month, but the places that are receiving drought have mostly experienced intensifying drought, including parts of the Southwest and into the Great Basin," Crouch said.
Meanwhile, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin were record wet in the first half of the year, while Delaware and New Jersey reached that milestone in June. There were flooding problems in swaths of the Southeast, where there was significant crop damage, and places like Chapel Hill, N.C., experienced deluges that damaged buildings, according to Fuhrmann.
Internationally, the monsoon season caused significant damage and loss of life in India, Crouch said. Parts of New Zealand also got two to four times their average rainfall.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Marshall Islands "are facing dire circumstances in terms of their water resources" after being unusually dry for much of 2013, said Crouch. In May, the island government declared a state of disaster, saying about 5,000 people were in direct peril (ClimateWire, May 10).
"June did bring a little bit of a reprieve to that location, but they are still facing significant drought impacts," said Crouch.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500