'Flash drought' worsening across 14 Southern US states

‘Flash drought’ worsening across 14 Southern US states
A man sunbathes amidst patches of dried out lawn from a lack of rain in Atlanta, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. Scientists say more than 45 million people across 14 Southern states are now in the midst of a drought that's cracking farm soil, drying up ponds and raising the risk of wildfires. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

More than 45 million people across 14 Southern states are now in the midst of what's being called a "flash drought" that's cracking farm soil, drying up ponds and raising the risk of wildfires, scientists said Thursday.

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows extreme in parts of Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and the Florida panhandle. Lesser conditions also have expanded in parts of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Overall, nearly 20 percent of the lower 48 U.S. states is experiencing drought conditions.

The drought accelerated rapidly in September, as record heat combined with little rainfall to worsen the parched conditions, said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center in Nebraska.

"Typically we look at drought as being a slow onset, slow-developing type phenomenon compared to other disasters that rapidly happen, so this flash drought term came about," Fuchs said. "The idea is that it's more of a rapidly developing drought situation compared to what we typically see."

Fuchs said he expects scientists to have further discussions about flash droughts, and perhaps develop parameters for what constitutes a flash drought.

Climate change is expected to make this kind of drought even hotter in the southern Great Plains, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported recently.

‘Flash drought’ worsening across 14 Southern US states
In this Sept. 26, 2019 file photo, a bicycle that was submerged in a pond lies on a dried-up bank in Helena, Ala. Scientists say more than 45 million people across 14 Southern states are now in the midst of a drought that's cracking farm soil, drying up ponds and raising the risk of wildfires. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves, File)

In a separate report this summer, NOAA scientists and researchers with the University of Colorado Boulder studied the impacts of the intense 2017 flash drought in the northern Great Plains, which caused $2.6 billion in losses in the region. A more arid landscape due to climate change "will make droughts of similar intensity 20 percent more likely than in the past," NOAA said in a summary of the research .

The current drought has been putting stress on a wide variety of crops across the South, including cotton in Alabama, peanuts in Georgia and tobacco in Virginia, according to reports from the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Pumpkins are faring better in Alabama, though they're somewhat smaller this year due to the drought.

"We would have liked to have had a few more pumpkins this year, but we do have pumpkins and we are selling pumpkins—that's the good news," said Doug Chapman, a commercial horticulture expert with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

  • ‘Flash drought’ worsening across 14 Southern US states
    In this Sept. 26, 2019 file photo, April Hebert watches her 1-year-old son Collins toss rocks into a partially dried-up creek in Helena, Ala. Scientists say more than 45 million people across 14 Southern states are now in the midst of a drought that's cracking farm soil, drying up ponds and raising the risk of wildfires. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves, File)
  • ‘Flash drought’ worsening across 14 Southern US states
    Dry grass from a lack of rain lays beneath the Midtown skyline in Atlanta, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. Scientists say more than 45 million people across 14 Southern states are now in the midst of a drought that's cracking farm soil, drying up ponds and raising the risk of wildfires. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

In Mississippi, wildfires have been on the rise, Gov. Phil Bryant said this week, as he ordered a statewide burn ban. Outdoor burning is also restricted in parts of several other states including Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia, according to the drought center.

The drought was also affecting some across the region. Lake levels have been falling throughout Georgia, including at Lake Lanier, which provides much of Atlanta's drinking water.

In North Carolina, rivers and streams are running low, Rebecca Cumbie-Ward, the state climatologist, said in a statement. Some North Carolina water systems are limiting use, and state officials are asking residents to follow those water restrictions .

Alabama Power said last week it was reducing water releases from its hydroelectric dams because of the drought. The move was intended to prevent lakes from shrinking too much.

The Drought Monitor is produced by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, NOAA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


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Southern drought deepens; 11 million affected

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Oct 03, 2019
Droughts happen. Ours is over in West Texas.

Oct 03, 2019
so, jg? it's be nice if you Northern Mexicans would share with the rest of us how to turn off Time

since you are claiming that there will no longer be any more droughts to bedevil you

while you are scratching your head trying to come up with a snappy retort?

you might ask the old timers, ranchers & farmers
what are the results when Tejanos is suffering through a combination drought & "Blue Norther"

it ain't pretty
it will be pretty awful

pretending that it will not occur? more often as the various manifestations of AGC continues to worsen?

is a fool's gamble with your family's lives

time to wake & smell the dead roses,
Silent Spring has arrived
time to grow up & take responsibility for your bloated sense of entitlement in liberal extravagance
time to learn that conservative is not a cheap political slogan to parrot

that true conservatism is an action in self-discipline, efficient lifestyle & getting your lazy butt out of your lazy boy recliner & get prepared

Oct 04, 2019
It's proton radiation.

BAN PLUTONIUM!

Oct 04, 2019
@rrwillsj
"since you are claiming that there will no longer be any more droughts to bedevil you"

JamesG never made that claim, you did, WTH is wrong with you. Do you argue with your self in the mirror... kinda like a territorial fish when you put a mirror in front of them. Dude he ain't fighting with you, he just said that the drought he has been experiencing is now over (not for ever but for this year dipshit).

Dude the more people like you go around frothing at the mouth about such topics the more you look like fools. The next generation will all laugh at you and our descendants will look at you like how we look at the horrid behaviour of the dark ages.... there are many parallels with the current zeitgeist, cancel culture is no different than the Spanish inquisition or the SS from the Nazi's pick your horrid historical bad guy.

Calm down and have a proper rational discussion instead of launching nukes if there is even one atom going in the wrong direction. Do more adulting.

Oct 04, 2019
terrific, another new sockpuppet to make feeble excuses for a denierbot propaganda campaign

i believe this is the third one this week?
the russian/saudi dark web sites must be bring in truckloads of new circuit boards
sucking up the local electrical output

Oct 04, 2019
I never said I denied that climate change is real, YOU are saying that. Seriously calm down and be rational. The whole part of future generations will look back at people like you as the problem that cause society to break into chaos. Not that climate change is not real dummy, let me ask you one thing how can we combat climate change if we are in civil war.

No other countries in the world other than western nations are taking this stuff seriously, the Chinese are just starting to think about it. Western civilisation makes up what about 1/3 of the worlds population what about the other 2/3. Doesn't matter what we do if they are not on board then its shit for everyone. And if we go into civil war in western nations then none will fight the good fight.

It's time to be rational and have open discussions not this drivel people like you spew out every day.

Oct 04, 2019
Don't waste your breath buddy, trolls abound on this site. Just block them 8-)
100% Percent of them can't even describe the Standard Model LOL

Oct 04, 2019
One thing that is never talked about in western nations on climate change is patents. Are we seriously going to let lawyers kill the human species.

Why is it that oil companies own many battery and energy generation patents and don't use them. Anyone who does gets sued out of existence, why is that. If we have a moratorium on any patent involved in CO2 sequestering, energy generation, battery technology, AI, most software patents (if not all cause software will be how we manage all these earth saving things), any manufacturing automation that does it in a green way. Why is it we are all hissy fit over microplastics and single use plastics when we could just use bio degradable plastics. Hell why does the food industry even use plastics that are not bio plastics. If food rots so should the packaging. It doesn't last forever so why should the packaging.

There are many changes that need to be done without the need to go back to cave living.

Oct 04, 2019
Taxes only enrich the rich and the poor (anyone making less that 250K per year... 99%) suffer and starve. Taxes make everything more expensive even life sustaining things like food and clean water. Taxes do not remove carbon from the atmosphere but science does, why isn't there anyone saying "with these taxes we are going to fund fundamental science to help engineers solve some of the problems we face". Nope won't hear that you will hear taxes to cut climate change.... I just want to know EXACTLY HOW THAT WILL LOOK LIKE!!!

Where does every cent go to combat climate change. Saying "people bad, taxes makes them consume less"...WRONG!!!

Things like food we kinda need every day will not stop needing it every day until we die. So being alive is wrong somehow and we need to be punished for being alive??? WTF

I live in Canada and 8 months of the year (you know enough time to die if you don't have food) we will always be a high energy consumer... we can't help it, we will freeze otherwise.

Oct 04, 2019
& yet the indigenous peoples of the Arctic regions have somehow managed to do so for thousands of years

Oct 07, 2019
Seriously dude burning wood releases the carbon that it has captured. Also the kind of pack snow required to make an igloo does not easily occur below a certain latitude... also isn't it less environmental to have everyone live in a single family home and not condos or apartment buildings.

So yeah sometime when you can't put the genie back into bottle. And are you suggesting we go back to cave dwelling and dying by 25 or 30 years old of a cold. Or break a bone and your life is over... You really want to go back to that life dude.

Come to Canada and live a winter (not in BC but pretty much anywhere else... Toronto has a mild winter so they don't count either) and see if your okay with living in igloos and caves.

BTW I choose to live here cause this is where I have citizenship so telling me to live somewhere else is kinda dumb right, immigration isn't always easy right, some countries are picky and I ain't choosing a shit country to go to just to make you happy.

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