published Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Dangerous drought on doorstep

Don't be deceived by appearances. The landscape in Chattanooga and the surrounding region might suggest that there has been adequate recent rainfall and that the area's forests, farms and pasturelands are in good shape. Green prevails for the moment, and the soil appears moist. What you see, though, is misleading. The area, experts agree, is precariously balanced on a line that separates the region from one that is moderately dry and one that is rapidly nearing severe or excessive drought. Without adequate rainfall soon, the latter is a possibility.

Rains last week -- about three inches here -- helped avert what could have been a disaster for farmers, said Kim Frady of the Agricultural Extension Service office in Cleveland, Tenn. That rain helped alleviate immediate problems -- dry fields, low stream flow, for example -- but it did little to erase rainfall deficits that stand at 7-to-10 inches in many places in Southeast Tennessee. Indeed, there are tell-tale signs that change -- none of it good -- is on the way if adequate rainfall does not occur soon.

Soil moisture in many areas is approaching dangerous lows. Crop and silage growth is slowing or, in the driest areas, simply stopping. Those conditions mirror similar woes elsewhere across the nation.

Indeed, the United States currently is mired in its worst drought since the 1950s. Fifty-five percent of the nation was in moderate to extreme drought at the end of June, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Prospects for improvement are slender. Long-range forecasts predict more of the very dry and extremely hot weather responsible for current conditions, especially in the hard-hit heart of the nation. If that proves true, the damage to national and personal economies and political candidates' hopes could be great.

The price of meat already is on the rise as ranchers reduce herds and flocks because grazing lands have dried up and it is too expensive to buy feed. Drought has severely reduced corn, wheat, oats and other grain production. Given the presence of those products in the American food chain, drought-induced low harvests could lead to additional and significant price increases at the supermarket.

At the moment, there seems little chance for an immediate end to the drought or to the almost certain rise in the cost of food that will result. Summer's showers and thunderstorms are welcome but do little more than provide a quick greening that is nothing more than cosmetic change. True relief will come only when the slow, persistent and soaking rains that are the only real remedy for drought arrive.

When and where those will occur is uncertain. Historical data used by forecasters is less helpful in predicting the weather now that global warming is increasing the frequency and the ferocity of extreme weather events -- like the severe drought that already has enveloped much of the nation and that now threatens this region and beyond.

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conservative said...

I knew it, I knew it from the caption. I knew it would be another Liberal lie about man made global warming

July 18, 2012 at 9:19 a.m.
dao1980 said...

conny has adverse reactions to reality in general. Completely regardless of the actual topic.

Poor ol' conny. Though, I'm sure believing that God looks, thinks, and feels just like you do, would have that same affect on anyone after a while..

July 18, 2012 at 9:40 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Conservative,

I know I've asked this before but how do you get through each day being so ignorant of facts and reality?

It's pitiful.

July 18, 2012 at 9:51 a.m.
ChrisSteves said...

So for the global warming doomsayers, in the 1930's there was a severe drought also. Was this drought brought on by global warming? and exactly what was mankind doing in the 1930's that created this global warming? In 1930 there were approx 2 billion people. Given your philosophy and more than 6 billion people on the earth today why haven't we utterly destroyed the planet?

July 18, 2012 at 1:44 p.m.
Easy123 said...

ChrisSteves,

It's impossible to say for sure but it's probable that the drought (aka the Dust Bowl) was brought on by global warming. But lack of moisture, increased plowing/agriculture. and erosion were the most obvious causes.

"Mankind" polluted the air back then too, genius. The Industrial Revolution has it's origins in the 1700's.

We have utterly destroyed the planet. The earth is very resilient but we have raped the land for many years.

I'll go ahead and say this, if you deny global warming, you are denying facts. Stop being ignorant.

July 18, 2012 at 2:29 p.m.
conservative said...

easy, your "We have utterly destroyed the planet." statement is further proof that you have destroyed your mind.

July 18, 2012 at 3:02 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Conservative,

I know I've asked this before but I'll ask again. Are you intentionally stupid or do you have a diagnosable mental deficiency?

Do you need more proof? Or would you like to keep being ignorant your whole life?

July 18, 2012 at 3:19 p.m.
conservative said...

easy,

From the Merriam Webster dictionary, you may have heard of it.

Definition of UTTER

: carried to the utmost point or highest degree : absolute, total <utter stranger

"We have utterly destroyed the planet.", is that still your story?

July 18, 2012 at 4:11 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Conservative,

It's not just my position. It's reality.

July 18, 2012 at 4:59 p.m.
conservative said...

easy,

From the Cambridge dictionary and Dictionary.com

Cambridge : to damage something so badly that it does not exist or cannot be used

<p>Dictionary.com : 1. to reduce (an object) to useless fragments, a useless form, or remains, as by rending, burning, or dissolving; injure beyond repair or renewal; demolish; ruin; annihilate. 2. to put an end to; extinguish. 3. to kill; slay. 4. to render ineffective or useless; nullify; neutralize; invalidate

"We have utterly destroyed the planet.", "It's not just my position. It's reality" -are you still sticking to this story and is this story your reality?

July 18, 2012 at 6:59 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Conservative,

Are you having reading comprehension problems?

July 18, 2012 at 8:55 p.m.
Walden said...

Meanwhile, it continues to be a very wet Summer in Hamilton County...

July 20, 2012 at 9:40 p.m.
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