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When thinking about drought and heat waves, it is natural to focus on the western contiguous United States or other parts of the world where dryness is a more conspicuous and frequent fixture of the climate. Many parts of the South Central and Western United States are currently experiencing serious drought conditions, with nearly 100% of the land area of California, Nevada, Utah, and Oklahoma in drought and over 10% of California, Texas, and Kansas classified as being in “Exceptional Drought,” the most extreme category. The dryness across this region has also played a role in the heatwaves that have been experienced over the summer. While much of the drought community’s focus is currently on events in the central and western U.S. There is also an ongoing drought event in the Northeast United States.

An important part of NOAA’s mission is improving our understanding of the nature of extreme conditions across the country to better anticipate, react to and manage their effects on communities. To achieve this goal, the MAPP and NIDIS programs are funding work to understand the nature of drought and developing tools for better preparedness.

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