A few small showers in the past week did nothing to alleviate the drought conditions and things have gone from bad to worse in most cases. For my part of eastern Iowa the situation has remained “extreme”:
The last month has just been brutal to the middle part of the United States. Check out the 12-week animation and watch the states like Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, and Indiana just get toasted:
According to state climatologist of Iowa, the current drought surpasses that of 1988. The economic impacts are likely to be less severe to farm economies this time around because of a higher rate of crop insurance and the recent high prices for farm commodities. A further downside is that the hot and dry weather that has brought these conditions is expected to last through September. It will be a miracle if a lot of perennials are strong enough to make it through the winter.
The corn crop is pretty much fried and now it looks like soybeans are next. On August 10th the USDA will update its crop estimate and no one is thinking that the data will look good. Considering half of the counties in the U.S. are under a disaster declaration because of the drought, how could it be?
One upshot, with little rain this summer farmers have applied a lot less fertilizer to their fields which means that there has been little runoff into rivers. Due to the drought affecting the Mississippi River’s watershed this means that the predicted dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico will be smaller this year. Gotta’ look on the bright side, right?