photo: Paul Lowry/CC BY
Some starkly blunt language coming from the National Weather Service on when the extreme drought conditions gripping much of Texas may let up:
All of north Texas is now in at least severe drought (D2)...with the vast majority of the region in extreme or exceptional drought. Water resources have decreased dramatically this summer...and crop losses will likely set record dollar amounts.
The heat is expected to continue the remainder of the summer...with the drought continuing unabated well into the upcoming autumn. With the potential for another La Niña winter...there is little to suggest any end to the drought.
The NWS goes on to report the effect the drought is having on agriculture and ranchers:
Pasture and rangeland conditions continue to deteriorate across the state...with 94 percent now rated as poor or very poor. Hay supplementation is widespread with nearly all hay imported from other states. In addition to adequate forage, cattle require several gallons of drinking water a day. Not surprisingly herds continue to be culled, with some ranchers reporting complete liquidation.
Warm season crops continue to suffer. Statewide only 8 percent of corn is in good condition. In the important corn-growing region of central Texas most corn has failed. In addition most of the cotton planted in Texas this year has been abandoned...an estimate loss in excess of 2 billion dollars.
Drought tolerate sorghum was mostly in fair condition or better. Farmers continue to report crop damage from feral hogs and other animals. In search of water animals and insects are increasingly encroaching on urban areas and irrigated land.
Statewide agricultural losses this year may be double the previous record of 4.1 billion dollars in 2006.
image: US Drought Monitor
As Think Progress points out, there's evidence suggesting the region may be heading towards permanent drought conditions due to climate change.