These maps illustrate the seriousness of the western drought in the U.S.

The historic drought in the western United States is about to get worse.

Much of the West is already experiencing severe to exceptional drought, but scorching summer temperatures will dry out the parched landscape even more.

“In the last 1,200 years, we haven’t seen a period as dry as right now,” said Ann Willis, a researcher at the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California at Davis.

“There’s no good news for the foreseeable future, for the next few decades,” Willis said. “Fundamentally addressing climate change is the ultimate answer. … If we don’t, then what we’re really seeing is just preamble to an even more extreme and catastrophic set of conditions.”

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