NOAA: Drought to Expand Into U.S. Plains, Midwestgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
NOAA: Drought to Expand Into U.S. Plains, Midwest July 13, 2001 10:39 am EST
By Randy Fabi WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. government weather experts on Friday forecast drought conditions would expand from Texas into the southern U.S. Plains, while parts of the Midwest will be hit with above-normal temperatures for the rest of this year's crop growing season.
In its seasonal drought outlook, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said hot, dry weather would further deplete soil moisture for crops in the central and southern Plains states, from Kansas to Texas.
Corn and soybean futures prices have sharply risen during the past two weeks on concern that hot weather could wilt crops in some parts of the Plains states and the Midwest. Corn and soybeans are now in critical stages of growth, and prolonged high temperatures could reduce yields.
"In the central part of the country, the weather will have an adverse impact on irrigation and crops, such as corn," Douglas Lecomte, meteorologist with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, told Reuters. Hot temperatures have "already hurt crop conditions and pasture conditions in the southern Plains."
Lecomte said NOAA was also closely monitoring weather developments in the U.S. Midwest, where areas of dryness have "popped up" in parts of Iowa, Illinois and Michigan.
"Frankly I was rather surprised...how quickly things have dried out in areas" of the Midwest, he said. "This is more of a recent development."
Lecomte said recent reports have already shown topsoil moisture deficits in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma and other parts of the Midwest and Plains.
On Thursday, NOAA released two other weather reports which could not conclusively forecast whether the Midwest and Plains states would face above-normal temperatures in August.
Friday's drought outlook also showed little relief for the drought-stricken Pacific Northwest, which has suffered from an energy crisis because of shrinking supplies of hydropower.
"In the West, water supply impacts resulting from last winter's dearth of snowfall will persist, so the seasonal outlook calls for continuation of the drought for most the region," NOAA said.
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 13, 2001