Southern Drought Expected To Continue
January 17, 2012

Southern Drought Expected To Continue

Government scientists reported this month that the Southern drought that has led to $10 billion in crop and agricultural losses in 2011 will continue for at least the next three months.

The drought is forecast to worsen and expand across the western United States as well.

According to the recent Drought Monitor report, drought is forecasted to develop in a solid 2,500-mile stripe across the southern tier of the USA from California to Virginia.

"There are fairly good odds that the winter will continue to be on the warm and dry side in the Southern U.S.," climatologist Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska said in a press release.

Fuchs said the climate pattern La Nina is still in place, which has a role to play in some of the drought conditions.  This weather pattern cools the Pacific Ocean water and usually leads to dry weather across the southern USA.

He said that even though this La Nina is not as strong as last winter's, its effects should continue to be felt all the way from Southern California to Florida.

The most recent Drought Monitor says that 95 percent of the state of Texas is in some level of drought.  This is the highest percentage of any state in the U.S.

Record-low snowfall is also raising concern about water across the western USA, particularly in California.

Snow surveyors from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) also reported this month that the state's mountain snowpack was among the driest on record.

Despite the dry conditions, water managers are still positive about the outcome of winter.

"Fortunately, we have most of winter ahead of us, and our reservoir storage is good," DWR Director Mark Cowin said.


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