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Drought worsens; some counties haven’t had rain in 90 days
Graphic courtesy of the U.S. Drought Monitor
During the last 30 days of 2010, the number of Texas counties affected by severe or extreme drought greatly increased, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The state continued to dry out during the last weeks of 2010, with more than 20 counties now classified as being under “extreme” drought conditions, according to the U.S Drought Monitor.
According to the drought monitor, more than 50 other counties were under “severe” drought by the end of December. Most of the state’s other counties were experiencing “moderate” drought conditions or were “abnormally dry.” Only the top tier of Panhandle counties had what was considered normal moisture conditions.
By the drought monitor’s definitions, “extreme” drought conditions result in major crop/pasture losses and widespread water shortages or restrictions. “Severe drought” means that crop and/or pasture losses are likely, water shortages are common, with water-use restrictions apt to be imposed. And “moderate drought” means there will be some damage to crops, and pastures, streams, reservoirs, and well-water levels will be low, with some water shortages developing or imminent.
AgriLife Extension district reporters compiled the following summaries:
AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Southwest District, including Wilson, Gonzales, Guadalupe, and Bexar counties, reported after three months without rain, the region received from 0.5 to 0.75 inches during the last week of 2010. However, December ended with less than a third of the long-term average for the month. The recent rain may have helped settled loose topsoil, but dry grass along roadways continued to pose a high risk of roadside fires. Cold weather helped conserve the limited moisture. Fields were prepared for early spring crops, but producers will need more rain soon to make possible dryland planting. Pastures and rangeland remained in winter dormancy, and forage availability was below average.
Compiled from Texas A&M University and Texas AgriLife Extension Service reports.
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