Thursday, August 11, 2011

Texas Ag Commissioner "Pray for Rain"

(TX KERA Bill Zeeble 1 day ago) - Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples says farmers and ranchers in the state have been devastated by one of the worst droughts ever, and it's not over.

Agriculture Commissioner Staples says the state's worst single-year drought and hottest July ever, combined with one of the state's worst wildfire seasons in history, has been catastrophic to farmers and ranchers.

Staples: We've had enough acreage burn that it is equivalent to Delaware, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C. and one-third of Connecticut combined. Make no mistake, this drought has driven farming and ranching families out of business. It has decimated some of their livelihoods. With each passing day without rain, it's having a greater toll on Texas farming and ranching communities.
Full Article at KERA

Texas is in its worst-ever one-year drought, according to John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist and professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University.

Central Texas has been in a drought since 1995-1996, with only brief respites in 2007 and 2010 from catastrophic, flooding rains. The 2011 record breaking heat wave and lack of rainfall is baking Texas desert dry, but 2011 is just a taste of Texas’ future.

The records set for Texas tell the story that a changing climate is killing the state:

  • July 2011 was the hottest ever month
  • 2011 hottest July ever - average temperature 87.2°F (previous record 86.5°F in 1998)
  • 2011 hottest June ever (fifth hottest month ever), average temperature 85.2°F
  • 2011 least year-to-date precipitation - 6.53 inches (historical average 16.03 inches; previous record 9.36 inches in 1917)
  • 2011 driest consecutive 8, 9, and 10 months - 7.25 inches 8.35 inches, and 9.17 inches respectively
  • Driest 12 months ending in July 2011 - 15.16 inches (previous record 16.46 inches in 1925)
  • 99.93 percent of the state is in some level of drought
  • 73.49 percent of the state is in exceptional drought

“These statistics rank the current drought as the most severe one-year drought ever for Texas,” Nielsen-Gammon explains. “Never before has so little rain been recorded prior to and during the primary growing season for crops, plants and warm-season grasses.”

Central Texas is changing from arid grassland to uninhabitable desert. In coming years, the climate is expected to worsen for Texas “Triple-digit temperatures will be the norm in Texas within a few decades, and 115-degree heat won’t be surprising,” according to the state climatologist.


ABC News

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