Severe Drought Continues in Southern US


July 12, 2011

Severe Drought Continues in Southern US

Climatologists say the great drought of 2011 is starting to look a lot like the one that hit the nation in the early to mid-1950s. It has spread across 14 states extending from Arizona eastward across the Gulf Coast into Florida, and up the Southeast coast.
It brings severe water restrictions in Florida, problems for ranchers in Arizona who could be forced to sell off entire herds of cattle because they cannot feed them. The drought is caused in part by La Nina conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean, these conditions alter the main storm track across North America, causing storms to travel across the northern tier, leaving southern areas desperate for rain. Although La Nina has waned, there are increasing signs that it may redevelop this fall or winter, according to the latest prognosis from the Climate Prediction Center.
Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas recorded their driest first six months on record, according to officials with the National Weather Service. The drought has also resulted in massive wildfires, with more than 4.9 million acres having gone up in smoke already this year, the most on record to date. Texas is especially hard hit. This past June was the hottest on record for the state. The average temperature was 85.2 degrees, besting the 1953 record of 84.9 degrees.
Last month, the United States Department of Agriculture designated all 254 counties in Texas natural disaster areas, qualifying them for varying levels of federal relief. More than 30 percent of the state’s wheat fields might be lost, adding pressure to a crop which is in short supply globally.

Publisher: Salient News