Drought is dehydrating much of the West, with several states in their third or fourth consecutive year. Southern Oregon, California, southern Utah and western Nevada already have extremely low streamflows and will likely get drier in coming months. Nevada and New Mexico reservoirs were at less than a quarter of their normal levels for early May. Fortunately, snowpacks in most of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and northern Colorado and Utah got a boost from late winter storms.

Such disparities may continue. The third National Climate Assessment, a massive White House report detailing the nation's climatic future, released in early May, says we should expect  increased winter and spring precipitation in the north, more rapid snowpack melt in the Pacific Northwest and increasingly dry conditions for the Southwest over the next century.