Drought expanding in summer heat

Hotter-than-normal temperatures and persistent dry conditions led to an uptick in moderate to severe drought across eastern Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and eastern Oklahoma, according to the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that 30% of continental U.S. (CONUS) and 66.4 million people are now being impacted by moderate drought or worse.
Extreme (D3) and Exceptional (D4) drought are affecting substantial areas of western Oklahoma, eastern Kansas, Texas, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and southern California.
Severe (D2) drought is present in eastern Oregon, southern California, Kansas, Utah, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, northern Missouri, southern Iowa, southern Arkansas, northern Louisiana, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Temperatures since October across the region have been well above normal: either top 10% or warmest on record since 1895.
Most of the region has received well-below-normal precipitation and some areas have been the driest on record since 1895.
He said beef cow slaughter in Region 6 is 10.4% higher than last year during the same period (through early June), with 14% more cows slaughtered since early April than in 2017.
Region 7, which includes both relatively dry Missouri and Kansas as well as Iowa and Nebraska, where timely rains have fallen, has seen beef cow slaughter up 6.7% year to date, and 8.8% in recent weeks, Brown noted.
“While it is still not clear whether the early spring cold temperatures and subsequent dry weather in portions of the country will be enough to result in a shrinking beef cow herd for the year, it is certain that poor pasture quality is taking a toll on many producers,” Brown said.

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