- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2011

SAN ANTONIO — The drought that has turned Texas and parts of the Plains into a parched moonscape of cracked earth could persist into next year, prolonging the misery of farmers and ranchers who have endured a dry spell that is now expected to be the state’s worst since the 1950s.

The U.S. Climate Prediction Center said Thursday that the La Nina weather phenomenon blamed for the crippling lack of rain might be back soon, just two months after the last La Nina ended. If that happens, the drought would almost certainly extend into 2012.

The extreme dry conditions have been made worse by week after week of triple-digit temperatures, which have caused reservoirs to evaporate, crops to wither and animals and fish to die off by the thousands.

“The suffering and desperate need for relief grows with the rising temperatures and record-breaking heat that continue to scorch Texas with each passing day,” state Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples said.

Even the state’s feral hogs are hiding from the heat, postponing a new reality-TV show about Texans gunning them down from helicopters.

Texas saw less than an inch of rain statewide in July, and more than 90 percent of the state is already in the two most extreme stages of drought.

“Anything below 2 to 3 inches of rainfall would be a fly-on-the-windshield type thing as far as improvement,” said Victor Murphy, a climate expert with the National Weather Service. “It wouldn’t reverse this continued death spiral we’re on.”

Also Thursday, the state climatologist declared this the most severe one-year drought on record in Texas. Officials expected to declare soon that it has become the worst drought since the 1950s.

A newly updated weather map showed the drought holding firm - if not intensifying - through at least October.

In Dallas, county officials say at least 12 people have died from the heat this summer. The high temperature Thursday was expected to hit 109 degrees, which would be a record for the date.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide