2010–13 Southern United States drought

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from 2011 Southern US drought)
Jump to: navigation, search
This narrated visualization shows how drought developed in the U.S. in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Dried up Lake in Oklahoma as a result of the droughts

The 2010–2013 Southern United States drought is a severe to extreme ongoing drought plaguing the US South, including parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The worst effects have been in Texas, where near-record drought has parched the state since January 2011. Texas suffered an estimated $7.62 billion in crop and livestock losses, surpassing its record loss of $4.1 billion in 2006. In Texas, combined with the rest of the South, at least $10 billion in agricultural losses were recorded in 2011. In 2010-11, Texas experienced its driest August–July (12-month) period on record.[1]

The 2011 drought was the worst one-year drought in Texas since 1895. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that Lubbock, Texas has experienced the nation’s worst average level of drought since the beginning of 2011. McAllen, Harlingen, Brownsville and Corpus Christi also ranked among the nine U.S. cities most affected by extreme drought.[2]

Effects[edit]

The drought dried up most of Central Texas water ways. This boat was left to sit in the middle of what is normally a branch of Lake Travis, part of the Colorado River.
A hole in the earth caused by the soil contracting due to lack of water in a rural backyard in South Texas. This photo was taken on March 25, 2013 near Corpus Christi, TX.

The drought has caused severe lack of water in the southern plains and Rocky Mountains as well as numerous wildfires,[3] in particular the 2011 Texas wildfires, the Wallow Fire and Horseshoe 2 Fire in Arizona, the Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire and Little Bear Fire in New Mexico, and the 2012 Colorado wildfires in Colorado.[citation needed]

By the end of August 2011, a ban on outdoor burning was in effect for 251 of the 254 Texas counties. Lake levels in Texas have declined vastly, some by as much as 50 feet; E.V. Spence Reservoir is now[when?] only 1% full. This has revealed various previously submerged items, ranging from a Native American's skull to a Space Shuttle Columbia tank.[4] On August 30, several homes in Oklahoma City were destroyed along with 1,500 wooded acres. Hundreds of homes had to be evacuated.[5]

The drought has had a detrimental effect on Texas and Oklahoma cattle ranches, who have deeply culled their herds and helped cut the national cattle population to the lowest level in decades.[6]

2012 spring rainfall improved conditions in many parts of Texas and by April 12, 2012 only 14% of the state was in "exceptional" drought, compared to 88% at the drought's peak.[7]

United States Drought Monitor on January 3 and July 3, 2012. Note the massive expansion from the South to most of the US.

In spring and summer of 2012, the drought expanded and formed the 2012 North American drought, affecting more than 80% of the contiguous United States.[8]

In late summer of 2012, the drought eased in portions of the southern US, but continued to intensify in the central US.[citation needed]

In Texas[edit]

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a joint effort of the National Drought Mitigation Center, the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as of late October 2013, about 4 percent of Texas remains in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, the two most severe categories.[9]

The drought caused billions of dollars in losses throughout the state economy. Farmers and ranchers were among those hardest hit. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service estimates that Texas agricultural producers lost nearly $7.6 billion due to the drought.[9]

Drought and unprecedented heat made 2011 the worst year for wildfires in Texas history. From Nov. 15, 2010 through Sept. 29, 2011, Texas saw 23,835 fires that burned more than 3.8 million acres and destroyed 2,763 Texas homes.[10] Timber lost to drought and wildfire could have produced $1.6 billion worth of products, resulting in a $3.4 billion economic impact in East Texas.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "State of the Climate, Global Hazards, Aug 2011". NOAA. September 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ Texas Water Report: Going Deeper for the Solution Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Retrieved 2/11/14.
  3. ^ "Texas drought causes wildfires - News - The Battalion - Texas A&M". Thebatt.com. Retrieved 2014-03-03. 
  4. ^ Fernandez, Manny (November 29, 2011). "As Water Levels Drop, Texas Drought Reveals Secrets of the Deep". The New York Times. Retrieved February 3, 2012. 
  5. ^ Marsh, Wendell (5 August 2011). "No relief in sight for Texas heat and drought". Reuters. Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Where's the Beef? Less of It in Texas February 11, 2012 WSJ
  7. ^ "Drought Steering Committee Presentation". Texas Drought Technology Steering Committee. April 12, 2012. 
  8. ^ Drought expands throughout USA April 14, 2012 USA TODAY
  9. ^ a b c Texas Water Report: Going Deeper for the Solution Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Retrieved 2/10/14.
  10. ^ The Impact of the 2011 Drought and Beyond

External links[edit]