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Drought Continues to Plague Two-Thirds of Continental U.S.

Posted by feww on July 17, 2012

Serious drought conditions continue to creep across nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states: USDA 

Farmers and ranchers across most of the U.S. have been affected by a string of extreme weather in 2012, as serious drought conditions in the Midwest expands north and west, further worsening the crop conditions and putting even more crops at risk, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported.

“Hot, dry and drought conditions across states from California to Delaware have damaged some crops and slowed development of others.” USDA said in a news release, as the agency’s senior officials prepared to tour “Michigan, Ohio and Indiana—three states affected by severe frost and freezes in the spring, with Indiana now experiencing increasing levels of drought. In the weeks ahead, additional USDA subcabinet leaders will travel to Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and others.”

From a Crisis to a Horror Story

“We’re moving from a crisis to a horror story,” said a Purdue University Professor of Agronomy. “I see an increasing number of fields that will produce zero grain.”

Precipitation

Two-thirds of the Continental U.S. has received less than 1 inch of rain in the last 7 days. See below for 7-day and 90-day total precipitation maps.


Precipitation Map for continental U.S. (7-day total). Source: HPRCC


Precipitation Map for continental U.S. (90-day total). Source: HPRCC

Palmer Drought Index

Based on the Palmer Drought Index, 55 percent of Continental U.S. was under moderate to extreme drought conditions in June, NOAA reported.

Topsoil Moisture Map


U.S. Topsoil Moisture as of July 15, 2012

Corn Crop Condition

Corn conditions have further worsened since last week. The amount of corn rated as FAIR to EXCELLENT conditions have plummeted from 89 percent last year to only 62 percent.

Soybean Condition

Soybean conditions too have further worsened since last week.  The amount of soybean rated as FAIR to EXCELLENT conditions have plummeted from 90 percent last year to only 70 percent.

Livestock, Pasture and Range Report

Pasture and range conditions: 24 percent very poor, 30 poor, 28 fair, 16 good, and 2 excellent. The rating was well below 68 percent fair to excellent last year.

U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook (July 5 to September 30, 2012)

Map of Agricultural Disaster Areas in the U.S.

Map of U.S. counties declared as agricultural disaster areas under ‘Streamlined Disaster Designation Process,’ as of July 12, 2012


PRIMARY & CONTIGUOUS COUNTIES designated for 2012 crop disaster losses – As of 07/10/2012 – through Designation No. S3260 (Approved 07/03/2012)

Drought conditions have sparked disaster declarations in about 1,300 counties (1,016 primary, 278 contiguous) across the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported.

  • U.S. drought has been intensified by the driest June in history and triple-digit temperatures on 10 out of 11 days recently.
  • As of last week, Moderate to Extreme drought conditions prevailed in 52.56 percent of the Midwest, and 68.39 percent of the South. Moderate to Exceptional drought conditions covered 73.87% of High Plains, 64.15% of the West and 35.46% of the Southeast.
  • The declaration covers 26 states across the country: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wyoming and Hawaii.

Worsening Drought Conditions

  • Missouri.  Worsening drought throughout Missouri has forced Gov. Nixon to ask the federal authorities for disaster declaration for all of the state’s 114 counties with the exception of independent city of St. Louis.
    • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Wednesday a ‘Streamlined Disaster Designation Process’ a USDA rule change for Secretarial disaster designations that will allow nearly automatically a county to be declared a disaster area once it is categorized by the U.S. Drought Monitor as a severe drought for eight consecutive weeks during the growing season.

Maps of U.S. Hazards Outlook


Map of U.S. Hazards Outlook for July 19 – 23, 2012, showing persistent severe drought.


Map of U.S. Hazards Outlook for July 20 – 26, 2012, showing persistent severe drought.


Map of U.S. Hazards Outlook to July 30, 2012, showing persistent severe drought.


U.S. Drought Comparison Maps for July 3 and July 10, 2012.


U.S. Drought Comparison Maps for June 26 and July 3, 2012


Current U.S. Drought Map – Released July 12, 2012.

Triple digit heat is coming back

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