Saturday, September 3, 2011
Texas Drought Continues, Despite Rain and Floods Elsewhere
TEXAS DROUGHT: SPOT THE OUTLIER
"The year 2011 continues the recent trend of being much warmer than the historical precipitation-temperature relationship would indicate, although with no previous points so dry it’s hard to say exactly what history would say about a summer such as this one. Except that this summer is way beyond the previous envelope of summer temperature and precipitation."
In the city, there are dead shrubs, and even a few large trees that have not been able to withstand the desert-like conditions. In the country, corn and even milo crops are brown and shriveled. Many farmers have plowed everything under, and the fields are just sitting there, waiting for wind to blow the soil away. It's pointless to plant winter wheat with no rain. Pastures, like many of the front yards in the cities, are bare soil with a few tufts of dead grass. Most of the cattle are gone. Ranchers with the means to move their breeding stock to other parts of the country did so. Some are importing hay from states such as Montana. But many ranchers have sent even their breeding stock to slaughter, beause they could not afford to keep them alive.
Former ponds are now dry depressions lined with cracked clay like shards of broken pottery. Creek and river beds are dry. Even large lakes have been reduced by evaporation to less than half their former volume.
Rain will show up in the 7-day forecast from time to time, but the meteorologists have to revise the forecast later to 0 precip.
There is one very small bright spot in all this: the drought has been so severe that it even seems to be affecting the grasshopper population. If the grasshopper population is low at the time of year when they lay eggs, the population next year will be relatively low.