Historic Drought Persists, Isaac Likely to Bring Relief to Some Areas

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According to reports from the US Drought Monitor, historic drought conditions persisted throughout much of the drought-stricken US this week. In total, about 63% of the country is still experiencing drought. Impacts to crops remain high. However, large areas planted earlier this year have provided some mitigation to what would otherwise be a terrible farming year. Nonetheless, food prices are expected to rise due to combined impacts from the US and Russian droughts.

Isaac, after lashing the Gulf Coast earlier this week, is expected to bring beneficial rains to much of the Mississippi valley. States in this region will likely see some abatement of drought conditions as many areas expect in excess of 5 inches of rain. A long, wet period would provide more overall benefit than a sudden tropical deluge. However, any major rainfall event should help conditions for ailing crops and struggling farmers. These rains are also likely to help relieve low water levels and increase river traffic for the Mississippi.

You can view expected rainfall amounts in the image, provided by NOAA, below:

West of the Mississippi, however, is a different story. Drought conditions are expected to continue or, potentially, worsen for parts of Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. And large sections that include Iowa, the mountain west and parts of Texas are still under the gun.

Overall, the worst drought in more than 50 years persists, still troubling many regions. Under a continued and worsening regime of global warming, such conditions are expected to become more frequent and intense. Alleviation for these self-inflicted problems require long-term policy action to drastically reduce fossil fuel consumption as well as measures to mitigate current and likely future damage to US agriculture due to drought.

Links:

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/tropical/qpf/tcqpf.php

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