California and the rest of the western US have been experiencing unprecedented drought conditions, with heat waves spreading through Arizona, Utah, and the country's most populous state.
Arizona has reached a blistering 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) on Tuesday, with Utah not so far behind after bearing 95 degrees F (35 C). California, meanwhile, has run to the hot and humid 80s, with Sacramento registering 81 degrees F (27 C).
Such scorching temperatures could further intensify an already worsening megadrought and the possibility of more destructive wildfires. Add water shortages in the mix, and it would seem the disaster is becoming apocalyptical.
US Drought Leads to 'Earthy' Taste and Smell of Drinking Water
CNN reported that due to the drought, drinking water in Sacramento smells and tastes a little "earthy"--a result of climate change, the record-setting heat, little to no rainfall, and the drying up for reservoirs.
The report added that the drying up of rivers, streams and reservoirs could lead to an increase in the concentration of geosmin, a compound that gives soil its distinctive smell. While it might not taste that good, Sacramento officials said the water is safe to drink.
Historic lows were already reported in water store houses Lake Powell and Lake Mead, which are formed by the Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams on the Colorado River, Cnet reported. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported that the Upper Colorado above Lake Powell has flows running below 20 percent of normal.
US Drought Monitor: How to Track Drought Conditions in Your Area
How is this drought affecting the area where you are? Just look at the drought monitor from drought.gov, a site from the National Integrated Drought Information System, Cnet revealed.
With this monitor, you can compare current drought conditions with historical data and make a further query to see how the soaring temperatures and decreasing ground water affect your locality (you need to enter a ZIP code).
The site updates every Thursday with the most recent data.
According to the drought monitor, the western US has experienced the most intense level of dryness, with 98 percent of the region seeing some form of drought. Prior to this intense dry spell, the biggest fraction of the West dealing with drought conditions was only 12 percent. Because of this, the current level of drought has been more than double at any other time in the past century, CNET added.
US Drought Conditions: San Gabriel Reservoir Almost Dry
According to EarthSky, a European Space Agency reported based on satellite images that reservoirs are about 50 percent lower than they should be at this time of the year, with the San Gabriel reservoir almost dry. California had recorded its driest February in 150 years, the EarthSky post said, with the state is now a "victim of severe drought" and the entire western US the driest conditions never before seen since 1977.
A report on The Verge showed comparisons of actual satellite images of the San Gabriel reservoir from a lush green landscape in 2020 to a scarred red, barren picture this year.
Palm Springs Reaches 123 Degrees Fahrenheit
Palm Springs, California recorded its highest temperature in history, 123 degrees F (50.6 Celsius), while Santa Fe, New Mexico also registered its all-time high of 102 degrees F (38.9 C), Cnet added in its report.
The report further said that at least one county in 42 of 50 US states are experiencing drought conditions, with exceptional drought in 10 states: North Dakota, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon and California, with Utah, Arizona and southern Nevada hit the hardest. Entire states having some level of drought or excessive dryness include Minnesota, Maine, and Oregon.
California has cut off water supply to Russian River watershed and Central Valley users, who are mostly farmers in one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world.