On Monday morning, the Dallas-Fort Worth area awoke to disaster. Rain was pouring down at the rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour. Highways became lethal lagoons, brooks became basins, and thousands of people scrambled to higher ground.
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Five weeks. Five instances of 1,000-year rain events. If it seems like the weather across the Lower 48 as of late has been bonkers, you’re not imagining things. It’s been a maelstrom of weather extremes, a seesaw fluctuating wildly from significantly dry to record wet conditions.
Severe drought conditions in New York and New Jersey persist this week and have expanded into parts of the South Shore of Long Island, Dutchess and Putnam counties, and northern New Jersey, according to the latest data released Thursday from the federal authorities that track conditions nationwide.
More water cuts are coming as the nation’s largest reservoirs continue to dry up in the worst drought in 1,200 years.
In the last week of July 2022, a 5-mile stretch of the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, New Mexico, ran dry for the first time in 40 years. Farther downstream, 12 miles of the river near Los Lunas and 32 miles in Socorro County had also dried up.
With water levels in the Colorado River near their lowest point ever, Arizona and Nevada on Tuesday faced new restrictions on the amount of water they can pump out of the river, the most important in the Southwest.
And the threat of more cuts looms. This week, those two states along with five others failed to meet a deadline for agreement on much steeper cuts in water use, raising the prospect that the federal government will step in and mandate further reductions.
As the historic drought in the U.S. Southwest pushes the nation’s largest reservoirs to record lows, the Biden administration Tuesday announced that water shortages along the Colorado River had passed a threshold for the first time that will require unprecedented water cuts in Arizona and Nevada.
Two months ago, federal officials told seven states that depend on Colorado River water to prepare for emergency cuts next year to prevent reservoirs from dropping to dangerously low levels.
The states and managers of affected water agencies were told to come up with plans to reduce water use drastically. After weeks of negotiations, which some participants say have at times grown tense and acrimonious, the parties have yet to reach an agreement.
With California enduring historic drought amplified by global warming, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday released a new plan to adapt to the state’s hotter, drier future by capturing and storing more water, recycling more wastewater and desalinating seawater and salty groundwater.