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'Mega-Drought' forecast to bake West, warn Feds

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Agriculture,Energy and Environment,Weather

The crop-killing drought that has parched much of the West for 13 years is expected to continue, according to a grim new forecast from the Department of Agriculture.

“Right now the West Coast is all red," Natural Resources Conservation Service Hydrologist Tom Perkins said. "Early indications are it will be very dry in the western part of the West, but wetter as you travel east. There are some exceptions to this, as New Mexico, Arizona, parts of Utah and southern Colorado are also expected to be dry."

In the year's first national water forecast, the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service also warned that the snowpack out West isn't promising.

"The North Cascades in Washington might have a normal year, but Oregon and California are unlikely to have normal precipitation," NRCS Meteorologist Curtis said in a release from USDA.

"Oregon snowpack looks grim right now, but the season is young and storms are on the horizon," said snow surveyor Melissa Webb. "While concerned, we're hopeful for some recovery in the next couple of months."

Some recent reports have dubbed the trend in Western states a “mega-drought.” The website Climate Central even suggested that it has been the worst one in over 1,000 years. Past mega-droughts have lasted from 25-200 years.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.