- Associated Press - Sunday, July 3, 2016

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) - Four Montana counties have been placed on drought alert, with warnings that conditions could get worse.

The counties include Glacier, Teton, Pondera and the northern portion of Lewis and Clark. More counties could be added to the list, and some areas could be declared in severe drought, officials said.

The counties have suffered two consecutive years of low snowpack, early runoff and minimal moisture, said Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, who chairs the Governor’s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee.

June precipitation in the four-county area was 25 percent to 50 percent of normal.

The drought alert is not the same as a federal disaster assistance program or state program, but it brings statewide attention to the problems those counties face.

“It is intended to give high visibility to the continuing impacts of drought in your county and the likelihood that conditions will further deteriorate in the absence of precipitation if the heat, sun and wind of summer continue in the coming weeks,” Cooney noted.

The Governor’s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee is expected to discuss the issues on July 14. Topics will include the latest water supply, soil and climate conditions across the state.

The statistics are compiled by the Natural Resources and Conservation Service, the National Agricultural Statistics Service and other state and federal agencies, the Great Falls Tribune reported (http://tinyurl.com/jmlclf5 ).

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Online:

Montana Drought Information: drought.mt.gov

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Information from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com

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