Drought in the Southeast

Not exactly what you’d expect from an El Nino winter, when the typical pattern is to have wet anomalies across the southern tier of states in the continental U.S. and drier weather to the north.

As obsessed as I am with southwestern climate, if you judge by the news flow, the real action is in the southeastern U.S. Maybe it’s just that we westerners are more accustomed to aridity, so it’s less of a big deal. The important bit here is that drought is not a specific amount of water. It’s a lot less water than you’re used to. So if we’d gotten 17 inches (43 cm) of rain from Nov 1 through the end of April here in Albuquerque, our cactus would really be blooming. 17 inches in northern Alabama is at or near the driest on record. You can see the results in the latest round of headlines from around the region: