For much of January, the West endured warm, dry conditions. As a result, California's drought crisis deepened, despite some late-month rain and snow. Aside from California's looming water-supply issues, more immediate drought impacts included poor rangeland conditions and depleted soil moisture reserves. Along with California, the Great Basin and parts of the Southwest face the specter of soon completing a third consecutive drier-than-normal winter.
Weatherwise Contributing Editor BRAD RIPPEY is the U.S. Editor of the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin of the Joint Agriculture NOAA Weather Facility.
Weatherwise Contributing Editor JEFFREY B. HALVERSON is Professor of Geography at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.