Drought Brings Trouble to Parts of the South

Matt Pearce reported in today’s Los Angeles Times that, “The drought started months ago. With the region’s fall dry season now in full gear, there’s not likely to be much relief. On Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor will release its next report on the massive drought, which stretches from eastern Texas to the Carolinas.

The Southeastern drought almost challenges the longstanding Western drought, centered in California, as the largest in the nation.

“As of late October, drought conditions rated severe or exceptional — the two worst categories — covered 73% of Alabama, 50% of Georgia, 16% of South Carolina and 12% of North Carolina, according to a report by the Southeast Regional Climate Center. Half of the stream gauges in Alabama and Georgia had recorded stream flows that were far below normal.”

The article noted that, “In Alabama and Georgia, which sit in the dry gap between the rainstorms, farmers are struggling to feed their cattle.

“Ben Haynes, 38, is a fifth-generation farmer in Cullman County, Ala., who grows crops and raises cattle with his brother and his father.

This year’s corn yields have fallen to a third of what they’ve gotten accustomed to, while soybean yields dropped by half. Now, with the green grass drying up, the biggest problem is how to feed their cattle.”

Mr. Pearce added that, “Some ponds created for watering livestock have dried up, forcing farmers to haul in water, said Jeff Helms, a spokesman for the Alabama Farmers Federation.

“There are ‘quite a few places in Alabama that have had zero rainfall since August,’ or maybe a couple months longer, Helms said.”

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