Texas and other parts of the Southwest are suffering through severe drought conditions. Weather experts said it could get much worse, threatening the livelihoods and products of farmers and ranchers.
The Drought Monitor is a consortium of climate experts. Their latest report stated Texas is in a state of “exceptional drought,” the worst category. This condition has also expanded to parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico and Louisiana, and is one of the worst in decades.
Wheat supplies are already thin world-wide. The drought could aggravate supply issues, as Texas is a key growing region for U.S. wheat. Some farmers already consider their fields to be a total loss. Experts stated the crop failures are widespread, including the hard red winter wheat crop. Ranchers are struggling as well, as keeping cattle fed and watered has become difficult.
The Drought Monitor released data on Thursday showing 94 percent of Texas is suffering severe drought or worse. Exceptional drought conditions have risen to 25.96% in Texas, up from 17.16%.
While this section of the country is dealing with difficult drought conditions, parts of the Midwest and lower Mississippi Valley are being barraged by persistent rains and flooding.
“We have all this flooding in the East and the Mississippi Valley, and drought in the South,” said climatologist Mark Svoboda. “That is the way Mother Nature seems to be dealing things right now, in the extremes.”
Excessive rainfall has hampered corn fields, and conditions could threaten other key crops, including soybeans. Only 13 percent of the corn crops were planted by May 1, lagging behind the normal pace of 40 percent. The conditions could impact food supplies as well as corn used in ethanol supplies.
Texas and southern Louisiana are expected to have high temperatures and low precipitation through July, according to Svoboda. He stated the only hope for relief is the development of a sudden storm system that is not yet on the radar screen.
“Right now it doesn’t look very good as we head into the summer months,” said Svoboda.