Drought 2012: Southeast still suffering, Texas recovers

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The stubborn drought in the Southeast continues to grip the region, despite Mother Nature’s efforts to provide welcomed relief from Tropical Storm Beryl’s drenching rain. Thanks to Beryl, Florida’s drought conditions improved significantly this week. According to the USDA’s Drought Monitor, there are no parts of the state currently considered in exceptional drought, compared to 12.43 percent last week.

Florida still has a long way to go in their recovery, and other states in the region struggle. Georgia improved just a few percentages -– primarily in a shift from more extreme and exceptional drought ratings to moderate and severe drought. While any improvement is celebrated, the anticipation of a long, hot, and dry summer could spell out long-term drought troubles.

The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook shows persistence drought to dominate throughout Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina. Florida, whoever, is expected to show drought improvement. However, an objective long-term drought indicator showed Florida and Georgia taking the brunt of the drought.

The Drought Monitor also reported a much improved Texas. Last year, 43.97 percent of the Lone Star state was covered in a deep hue of red, indicating exceptional drought. Today, less than 1 percent of the state is considered in exceptional drought. The majority of the state (38.19 percent) is now considered abnormally dry, compared to 1.93 percent last year.

Some improvement can be expected through Aug. 31 in west Texas, though areas in north, central and southern Texas won’t be as lucky. In these areas, the drought may persist.   

Livestock producers are weary after last year’s drought. The Drought Report shows that producers on the Rolling Plains of Texas are considering culling more cattle and cotton planting in the area is on hold. Additionally, pastures in south Texas are improving but producers continue to give supplemental feed to their livestock.  



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