Rain helps but southern Plains still stuck in drought
Last week’s deluge brought welcomed rain to much of the nation’s dry midsection, but even the much-needed moisture wasn’t enough to break the drought.
According to the latest Drought Monitor report, drought conditions in Texas improved notably over the last week. Around one-third of the Lone Star is currently is extreme or worse drought, down from 40 percent last week.
Even with the improvement, however, officials warn another dry and hot summer could severely impact water levels in the state’s rivers and lakes.
Chris Riley, river operations center supervisor at the Lower Colorado River Authority, said this week's rains bought us a little more time, but, "If conditions don't improve and we don't get additional rainfall, then we're going to continue to see a drop - it's possible that we could be down to historic levels down later in the summer, around August," he told KVUE News.
In nearby Oklahoma, conditions also improved with last week’s rain, falling from 61 percent in extreme or worse drought to 55 percent. Even so, the drought has already decimated Oklahoma’s wheat crop.
NewsChannel Four’s Aaron Bracket says Oklahoma has not seen a drought like this in decades.
Bracket said, “You know this drought really is exceptional. We’re talking something we haven’t seen, in not just years, but decades in parts of Southwestern
Kansas is yet another state on the Plains battling intense drought. Farmers and ranchers across Sunflower State, where 48 percent is in extreme or exceptional drought, are already worried about another long, dry summer.
"They always say it's always rained before, it's going to rain again, but it never helps you in the time when you need it the most, such as this year," Aaron Williams, a Southeast Kansas Farmer said Nexstar Broadcasting.
According to the Kansas Water Office, Southeast Kansas drought conditions will remain the same or get worse for the next three months. The drought is expected to shift farther east than originally projected
In California, conditions remain the worst in the nation. More than three-quarters of the state is in extreme or worse drought – unchanged for the sixth consecutive week. Food prices in California and the rest of the country are feeling the pressure put on by the epic drought, and researchers at the University of California, Davis Center for Watershed Sciences estimate the drought will cause nearly $2 billion in damage along with “substantial long-term costs” of groundwater overdraft that will go unaccounted for.
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