Drought turns Calif. farmland into Dust Bowl

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click image to zoomDrought MonitorThe Drought Monitor map released on June 26, 2014.   According to the latest Drought Monitor report, rain over much of the nation’s midsection made a significant dent in the region’s drought.

In Texas, 15 percent is in extreme or worse drought, compared to 17 percent last week and 19 percent last year. Oklahoma reported 41 percent of the state in these drought conditions, compared to 49 percent seen last week.

Last year, 45 percent of Kansas was in extreme or exceptional drought. Thanks to weeks of drenching rain, today just 21 percent of the Sunflower State is in these conditions. More rain is expected over the weekend, and further drought improvement, especially over the northern tier of the state, is likely.

While conditions in these key corn-, soybean-, and wheat-growing states are notable, the biggest drought story remains in the West. California, a state locked in drought, reports 77 percent of the state in extreme or worse drought. The worst of the drought is centered across the state’s fertile Central Valley. Click here for the full Drought Monitor report.

CBS San Francisco (Calif.) reports that thanks to the drought, Central Valley farmland is being transformed into the Dust Bowl.  Fergus Morrissey, a water engineer from the Orange Cove Irrigation District, calls the drought a “natural disaster.” However, unlike a earthquake or a hurricane, drought is a slow-motion disaster.

“Unlike a (Hurricane) Katrina, which kind of happens all at once, a drought is a slow moving disaster and you almost don’t recognize what damage it’s going to do until you’re far into it and it’s already passed. So it’s a very slow, slow sort of death,” Morrissey said.

Read more from CBS San Francisco here.

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