Monday Apr 01, 201307:31 AM GMT
Half of lower US states suffering from drought
Mon Apr 1, 2013 7:29AM
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The United States is in the midst of one of the biggest droughts in recent memory. At last count, over half of the lower 48 states had abnormally dry conditions and are suffering from at least moderate drought.


More than 80 percent of seven states were as of last week in “severe drought,” characterized by crop or pasture loss, water shortage and water restrictions.


Depending on whether the hardest-hit regions see significant precipitation, crops yields could fall and drought conditions could persist for months to come.


Based on the latest data provided by the U.S. Drought Monitor, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the seven states running out of water.


U.S. Department of Agriculture meteorologist and Drought Monitor team member, Brad Rippey, explained that when the drought began in 2012, the worst of the conditions were much farther east, in states like Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan - the corn belt states. Based on pre-drought estimates, corn used for grain lost slightly more than a quarter of its potential.  The Huffington Post


By the summer of 2012, 59 percent of U.S. rangeland and pastureland was rated by the USDA as being in poor or very poor condition. The growing drought decimated national hay production, causing feed shortages, which in turn drove up prices in livestock. The Huffington Post


By the fall of 2012, drought conditions continued to expand westward to its current epicenter - states like Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado and Oklahoma. Rippey explained that most worrying is the drought’s effects on the winter wheat crop, which is one of the biggest crops grown in the U.S., and which is grown almost entirely in the states in severe drought. The Huffington Post


Drought diminished in the Southeast and intensified across much of the West last week, according to Thursday's U.S. Drought Monitor, a weekly federal website that tracks drought.


The entire state of Colorado remained in a drought. Last Wednesday, for the first time in 11 years, mandatory water restrictions were ordered for Denver because of the extended dryness. USA Today


The entire state of California is also considered to be either abnormally dry or in a drought, which is the highest percentage for the Golden State since October 2009. California has endured its driest January and February on record. USA Today


As of last week, almost 99% of Texas is either abnormally dry or in a drought. Parts of eastern Texas are 8 to 16 inches below normal precipitation for the past six months, meteorologist Anthony Artusa said. USA Today



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