This article needs to be updated.(May 2022)
A drought developed in the Western, Midwestern, and Northeastern United States in the summer of 2020. Similar conditions started in other states in August 2020, including Iowa, Nebraska and certain parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota. At the same time, more than 90% of Utah, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico were in some levels of drought. Also in drought conditions were Wyoming, Oregon and Arizona.
Over the course of 2021, conditions improved in the Northeast but worsened in the Western United States. As of June 2021, "nearly the entire region (97 percent) [was] facing abnormally dry conditions." Drought also affected a wide area of Mexico in 2021, as well as the prairies of Canada.
The 2020–2021 drought was described by some as possibly the worst drought in modern history for the Western U.S.
In July 2021, after two more extremely dry winters, Lake Powell dropped to its lowest level since 1969 when the reservoir was first filling. Lake Mead fell to a level expected to trigger federally mandated cuts to Arizona and Nevada's water supplies for the first time in history.
The first quarter of 2022 was the driest on record in California and Nevada. Despite June having slightly above average precipitation in California, the state still had its driest first half. This persisted even during the extreme monsoon season, but eased a bit. Since July 28, 2022, Lake Mead rose 1%.
Iowa received widespread rain in September; that improved the dry conditions for the eastern region of the state. But the western half of the state dealt with severe-to-extreme drought problems which extended past 2020 and into 2021. By late April and early May 2021, though, northern, central and northeastern Iowa had fallen back into dry conditions. By mid-August 2021, drought problems in Iowa had worsened; certain areas across the state were affected with extreme drought conditions by August 13. The northwest and east-central regions of Iowa were especially adversely affected with extreme dry conditions by mid-August.
In northeastern Illinois near the Chicago metropolitan area, May 2021 was the driest since 2012. As of June 1, 2021, Chicago had only received barely half of one inch of rainfall due to drought in the area. April 2021 was one of the city's driest Aprils on record; only .71 inches (1.8 cm) fell in Chicago in April 2021.
By August 12, 2021, Minnesota was having the worst drought spells since the major drought in the final two years of the late 1980s. Just over seven percent of the state, in particular, nine counties in the northwestern part of Minnesota were having exceptional drought. That was the first time since 1988 the state had been under exceptional dry conditions. The drought conditions in Minnesota during 2021 caused serious comparisons to extremely similar dry conditions eighty-five years prior.
The Northeastern United States were out of drought conditions by the beginning of June 2021. However, throughout July 2022, drought returned and intensified across the Northeast. Newark, New Jersey had their driest July on record in 2022. Massachusetts was hit particularly hard, as by August 16, over 40% of the state was in extreme drought. Almost all of Rhode Island was in extreme drought in mid-August, after the 3rd driest July on record. August was the driest in New York City since 1994. However, drought improved in September. By September 27, no part of Maine was in severe drought, and most of the state was out of drought. With precipitation increasing in the fall, especially after Hurricane Nicole, less then 10% of the Northeast was in any kind of drought.
By June 2021, moderate drought conditions had developed in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2021)
As of April 2021, Mexico was facing one of the most widespread droughts in its history, with 85% of the country experiencing drought conditions.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2021)
As of spring 2021, extreme drought threatened the southern corners of Manitoba and Saskatchewan after an abnormally dry fall and winter.
- Droughts in the United States
- 1934–35 North American drought
- 1936 North American heat wave
- 1983–1985 North American drought
- 1988–1990 North American drought
- Southwestern North American megadrought
- 2002 North American drought
- 2012–2013 North American drought
- Plume, Karl (October 10, 2022). "Mississippi River reopens to barge traffic after low water closures - U.S. Coast Guard". Reuters.
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- June 2022 National Climate Report, NOAA
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- Newark recorded their driest July on record, with just 0.55" of rainfall the entire month. The previous record was 0.84" from 1932. The drier than normal stretch has contributed to an expanding drought in the region. #NYwx #CTwx #NJwx, NWS New York, Twitter, August 3, 2022
- All of Massachusetts now in drought amid alarming expansion of dry conditions in Northeast, CNN, August 18, 2022
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- "Most of Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts is in extreme drought". August 18, 2022.
- This summer was one for the record books, NY1, September 5, 2022
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