Hoping for a Hurricane: July Breaks Record for 'Exceptional' Drought

More
drought-reuters-body-smaller.jpg

The widespread drought in the Southern United States has now reached an unprecedented level. According to the U.S. drought monitor, this past July broke the record for the most "exceptional drought" in any given month. Exceptional drought, the monitor's most-severe classification, is a true water emergency marked by widespread crop failure and low reservoir levels. Currently, 18 percent of the continental U.S. is experiencing extreme or exceptional conditions.
 
The findings of the Drought Monitor are summarized in this release:

Nearly 12 percent of the contiguous United States fell into the "exceptional" classification during the month, peaking at 11.96 percent on July 12. That level of exceptional drought had never before been seen in the monitor's 12-year history, said Brian Fuchs, UNL assistant geoscientist and climatologist at the NDMC...

Texas has been hit the hardest--the entire state is in drought, 75 percent of which is considered exceptional. However, other states also are experiencing water emergencies.

Other States that are at least 85 percent abnormally dry or in drought according to the report include:
  • New Mexico (100 percent in drought, 48 percent exceptional)
  • Louisiana (100 percent abnormally dry or in drought, 33 percent exceptional)
  • Oklahoma (100 percent abnormally dry or in drought, 52 percent exceptional)
  • South Carolina (97 percent abnormally dry or in drought, 16 percent extreme to exceptional)
  • Georgia (95 percent abnormally dry or in drought, 68 percent extreme to exceptional)
  • Arkansas (96 percent abnormally dry or in drought, 6 percent extreme to exceptional)
  • Florida (89 percent abnormally dry or in drought, 20 percent extreme to exceptional)

The situation is so extreme, a strong tropical-storm season could actually prove beneficial (in terms of replenishing the water-starved land):

"Whenever there is a lot of moisture in a short period of time, the potential exists for rapid improvement," Fuchs said. "But while that possibility exists, it won't necessarily mean the end of drought in those areas. It will likely only improve by one drought category for those areas not impacted by any tropical storms or where drought related impacts improve."

Read the whole story at Eurekalert

Image: Reuters


Jump to comments
Presented by

Brian Resnick is a staff correspondent at National Journal and a former producer of The Atlantic's National channel.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Saving Central: One High School's Struggle After Resegregation

Meet the students and staff at Tuscaloosa’s all-black Central High School in a short documentary film by Maisie Crow. 


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

Just In