The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Extreme 'Flash Drought' in Southeast Means Big Trouble for U.S. Farmers
By Dan Nosowitz
While the northern reaches of the continental U.S. are finally starting to feel a little chill, the Southeast is dealing with something very different.
The United States Drought Monitor releases an update once a week with a map of the drought situation across the country. Its report this week echoes what farmers in the Southeast have been saying: We have a problem.
According to the Drought Monitor, the Southeast is enduring temperatures between nine and twelve degrees above normal. From Virginia through Northern Florida, and especially in states such as Kentucky and Georgia, temperatures are reaching record highs. Chattanooga, Tennessee hit its highest temperature ever for this week, breaking 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It's the same story for Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina: 100 degrees in October, something the area has never before recorded.
For much of the region, the Drought Monitor says the conditions are a moderate drought at minimum. Large chunks are much worse than that, rating as a "severe" drought, with some pockets even hitting a bright-red "extreme" drought level. "Outside of coastal areas impacted by recent tropical weather, almost the entire region is abnormally dry or worse," reads this week's report.
Agriculture, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, is struggling in the Southeast as well. At the "severe" drought level, corn pretty much shrivels and dies. Rivers are shriveled, which makes it difficult to transport agricultural goods via barge. Grass is essentially dead, which means that those with grazing livestock have to spend money on hay, as well as, of course, water. And, as WFPL notes, even if farmers can get in to harvest their corn or soy crops, the weather stress makes them fetch lower prices than usual.
There will, according to weather predictions from the Drought Monitor, hopefully be some precipitation soon, at least in the parts of the Southeast that border the Midwest. But there's no guarantee, and it may be too late at a crucial time of the year for farmers.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Pedro Biondi
Extinct in its habitat for at least three decades, the Alagoas curassow (Pauxi mitu) is now back in the jungle and facing a test of survival, thanks to the joint efforts of more than a dozen institutions to pull this pheasant-like bird back from the brink.
By Julia Conley
Sen. Elizabeth Warren expanded her vision for combating the climate crisis on Tuesday with the release of her Blue New Deal — a new component of the Green New Deal focusing on protecting and restoring the world's oceans after decades of pollution and industry-caused warming.
A judge in New York's Supreme Court sided with Exxon in a case that accused the fossil fuel giant of lying to investors about the true cost of the climate crisis. The judge did not absolve Exxon from its contribution to the climate crisis, but insisted that New York State failed to prove that the company intentionally defrauded investors, as NPR reported.
By Sharon Elber
You may have heard that giving a pet for Christmas is just a bad idea. Although many people believe this myth, according to the ASPCA, 86 percent of adopted pets given as gifts stay in their new homes. These success rates are actually slightly higher than average adoption/rehoming rates. So, if done well, giving an adopted pet as a Christmas gift can work out.