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As a follow on to the post on Missouri soil moisture, things are worse further west. (In my mind the West stops in the Rockies and then there's the Left Coast.)

Unless something unusual happens this spring, the mountain states are going to have problems with both crops and wildfires. Snow pack is very low and hopes are pinned on a wet spring. It's a good thing the Corps of Engineers refused to let reservoirs in the West maintain their water levels, rather than releasing water to maintain flow for the Missouri-Mississippi river system for barge traffic hauling grain to the Gulf.

Complicating matters, many of the worst-hit states have even less water on hand than a year ago, raising the specter of shortages and rationing that could inflict another year of losses on struggling farms.

Reservoir levels have fallen sharply in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. The soil is drier than normal. And while a few recent snowstorms have cheered skiers, the snowpack is so thin in parts of Colorado that the government has declared an “extreme drought” around the ski havens of Vail and Aspen.

Reservoir Levels:

Colorado Snowpack:

National Drought Mitigation Center (Lincoln, NE):

I'm a bit past 66 and haven't heard of water problems like this. I'm very worried. My mother (born in 1918) told me how the Mississippi would freeze over in her father's day - to the point that people would haul loaded wagons across it. We haven't had a below zero day for quite some time. Something has changed drastically.

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