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Portugal suffers through its worst drought in 80 years

March 4, 2012

By Andrei Khalip

"After Portugal's driest February in 80 years, farmers are praying for a miracle as drought ravages pastures and sparks forest fires, exacerbating the country's economic crisis."

Worse still, official forecasters expect the freak weather pattern to prevail at least through the end of March, which would worsen a drought now classified as severe and extreme throughout mainland Portugal.

Aside from the yet-unassessed impact on trade and GDP, the situation is likely to further strain limited financial resources just as Portugal is cutting spending to meet the tough terms of its 78-billion euro bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

The country's last major drought in 2005 cost the country almost 300 million euros ($400 million).

In the parched southern Alentejo region - the country's poorest - villagers in several places are already holding Novenas, acts of religious devotion at which prayers are recited and sung for nine nights in a row to obtain divine intervention."

Read more at...


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Time to ditch the umbrella? 20 million hit by drought in southeast England

120405-england-dry-9a.photoblog600.jpgJustin Tallis / AFP - Getty Images

A wooden branch lies in the dry mud at the bank of the half-full Bewl Water reservoir in the English county of Kent on Thursday. Charlie Powell, a meteorologist at the U.K.'s Met Office, told msnbc.com there was no sign of an imminent downpour over England's drought-affected areas.

By Ian Johnston, msnbc.com

"London has an undeserved reputation as a rainy city, with “things to do” when the U.K. capital is wet a popular topic of conversation among tourists.

But this year could see that image shattered in dramatic fashion, with much of southeast England gripped by a serious drought currently affecting about 20 million people."


"Restrictions on the use of water were imposed Thursday from the southeast coast to the River Humber in the north and almost as far west as Wales."

"By the time the Olympics comes to London in July, further controls could be introduced that will prevent aircraft, London’s famous double-decker buses and other vehicles from being washed. Other restrictions are also likely.

Brits revel in gloom ahead of London Olympics

Those arriving for the greatest show on Earth, may find a parched, somewhat grubby city. The event itself, however, will be exempt, so rest assured there will be water in the diving pool, the rowers will not in find themselves marooned and the smiles of the synchronized swimmers will remain fixed."

Read the story here


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Drought in England could last beyond Christmas - agency



"LONDON (Reuters) - A drought affecting parts of England could last until after Christmas, Britain's environment agency warned on Monday, as rain over the spring and summer is unlikely to replenish low water levels.

In a country more usually associated with damp and drizzle, drought has been declared in seventeen counties in England's southeast and central regions, after two dry winters left rivers and ground waters depleted.

Although public water supplies in these areas are unlikely to be affected, the lack of rain is taking its toll on the environment and farmers, causing problems for wildlife, wetlands and crop production, the agency said in a statement.

"A longer term drought, lasting until Christmas and perhaps beyond, now looks more likely and we are working with businesses, farmers and water companies to plan ahead to meet the challenges of a continued drought," said Trevor Bishop, head of water resources at the Environment Agency.

Bishop urged the British public to conserve water supplies."



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UN food agency warns of danger to croplands in Mali and Niger from locust swarms

June 6, 2012

"The United Nations food agency warned today that croplands in Niger and Mali are at imminent risk from Desert Locust swarms that are moving southward from Algeria and Libya.

?How many locusts there are and how far they move will depend on two major factors ? the effectiveness of current control efforts in Algeria and Libya and upcoming rainfall in the Sahel of West Africa,? a Senior Locust Forecasting Officer with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said Keith Cressman, said in a news release.

Groups of locusts have recently been found in northern Niger, arriving from infestations further north.

According to FAO, the Desert Locust swarms can be dense and highly mobile ? varying from less than one square kilometre to several hundred square kilometres, with at least 40 million and sometimes as many as 80 million locust adults in each square kilometre of swarm, and able to travel about five to 130 kilometres or more in a day.

A Desert Locust adult can consume roughly its own weight in fresh food per day, equivalent to about two grams every day. A very small part of an average swarm ? or about one tonne of locusts ? eats the same amount of food in one day as about 10 elephants or 25 camels or 2,500 people."

read entire story at...


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U.S. declares drought-stricken states largest natural disaster area ever

July 12, 2012

Dylan Stableford/Yahoo

"The United States Department of Agriculture has declared natural disaster areas in more than 1,000 counties and 26 drought-stricken states, making it the largest natural disaster in America ever.

The declaration—which covers roughly half of the country—gives farmers and ranchers devastated by drought access to federal aid, including low-interest emergency loans.

"Agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation's economy," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday while announcing the assistance program. "We need to be cognizant of the fact that drought and weather conditions have severely impacted farmers around the country."


Global food crisis looms as grain prices soar

July 12, 2012

The world is watching and waiting while US farmers struggle with the worst drought in 25 years

Veronica Brown and Nigel Hunt

"LONDON — What looks to be the worst U.S. drought in a quarter of a century has given rise to an old-fashioned commodity rally on world markets, with key grain prices hitting highs which caused food crises in vulnerable parts of the globe last time around.

Seeking to protect their populations from hunger this time, many countries relying heavily on imports have held off for now, touting healthy stock levels and hoping other sources will come through and bring prices down.

But their hopes may be dashed if they all return to market at once.

With so much of the world putting faith in a record U.S. corn crop, it is little wonder that prices have surged around 40 percent in the past three weeks as relentless dry weather melted yield expectations for cereals. Soybeans are at record highs, while wheat is not far behind.

"Production potential looked great and it kind of lulled these end-users into a false sense of security. At that point we were seriously looking at (corn) prices under $5 if weather conditions remained ideal, but now we've rallied sharply higher and never looked back," Jefferies Bache analyst Shawn McCambridge said.

Now, corn futures contracts backed by the 2012 harvest are above $7 a bushel and climbing fast.

Traders said consumers in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East had pulled back on regular purchases, expecting prices to cool off."


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Drought and wild fires destroy Russian harvest

July 30, 2012


Eugene Nikitenko

"Russia is currently in the grips of an extremely strong heat wave. City and town residents are suffocating from the sweltering heat. For example, it is about 30 degrees in Moscow with prospects of the thermometer going up in the next few days. The heat wave situation is aggravated by wild fires producing clods of poisonous smoke. The wood rich Siberian taiga near Krasnoyarsk is fighting 83 fires on the territory of 12.130 hectares. As for rural Russia, that only last year was the world’s third-biggest grain producer, it suffers colossal damages. It threats to destroy a significant part of the crops. If last year’s harvest amounted to 94 million tons, this year it is a predicted at 80 to 85 million. Given the situation, earlier in July the Agriculture Ministry had to revise its harvest predictions."


Western North America Faces 21st Century 'Mega-drought'

"CORVALLIS, Oregon, July 30, 2012 (ENS) - The climate's "new normal" for most of the coming century will parallel the long-term drought that hit western North America from 2000 to 2004 - the most severe drought in 800 years - scientists report in a study published Sunday.

"The severity and incidence of climatic extremes, including drought, have increased as a result of climate warming," the researchers said, adding that these long-term trends are consistent with a 21st century "megadrought."

Crops and forests died and river basins dried, but as bad as conditions were during the 2000-04 drought, in the future they may be seen as the good old days, a group of 10 researchers warned Sunday in the journal "Nature Geoscience."


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Will Drought Cause the Next Blackout?

We"re now in the midst of the nation’s most widespread drought in 60 years, stretching across 29 states and threatening farmers, their crops and livestock. But there is another risk as water becomes more scarce. Power plants may be forced to shut down.


I found this chart on water usage interesting.

The Hidden Water We Use ..........  http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/embedded-water/

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The Global Consequences of America’s Drought

Most people are aware of the historic, unrelenting drought tightening its grip on the United States. But too few are seriously contemplating what this means, not just for America, but for the world.

It’s been described as a full-scale catastrophe, a “natural disaster of epic proportions.” By the end of June, more than 50 percent of the U.S. was experiencing moderate to extreme drought.


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Half of US counties now considered disaster areas

Nearly 220 counties in a dozen drought-stricken states were added Wednesday to the U.S. government's list of natural disaster areas as the nation's agriculture chief unveiled new help for frustrated, cash-strapped farmers and ranchers grappling with extreme dryness and heat.


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To make matters worst,They had to close the Mississippi River at two different sections due to barges running aground.

(Reuters) - The Mississippi River was closed to traffic at two locations on Thursday as barge tows ran aground near Greenville, Arkansas, and La Crosse, Wisconsin, due to low water amid the worst U.S. drought in 56 years, private and government sources said.


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Wildfires blaze across drought-plagued Oklahoma

Wildfires burned out of control on Friday in Oklahoma, destroying homes and shutting down highways in a state that has suffered 18 straight days of 100-plus degree temperatures and persistent drought.


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Brutal July heat a new U.S. record

The July heat wave that wilted crops, shriveled rivers and fueled wildfires officially went into the books Wednesday as the hottest single month on record for the continental United States.


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It has been cooking,that's for sure.

We,here in north central Kentucky,will get a brief reprieve from the heat,but the temps will climb once again.

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Corn yields for 2012 are projected at 123.4, the USDA reports.

That's devastating — it would be the lowest average yield since 1995 if realized.



Missouri Farmer Shows Us The 'Unheard Of' Devastation To His Crop


he significance of the record drought that's hit the Midwest cannot be underestimated.


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The Mississippi River Is Drying Up As Food Prices Continue To Surge

August 15, 2012

"Michael Snyder: The worst drought in more than 50 years is having a devastating impact on the Mississippi River.  The Mississippi has become very thin and very narrow, and if it keeps on dropping there is a very real possibility that all river traffic could get shut down.  And considering the fact that approximately 60 percent of our grain (NYSEARCA:JJG), 22 percent of our oil (NYSEARCA:USO) and natural gas (NYSEARCA:UNG), and and one-fifth of our coal travel down the Mississippi River, that would be absolutely crippling for our economy. 

It has been estimated that if all Mississippi River traffic was stopped that it would cost the U.S. economy 300 million dollars a day.  So far most of the media coverage of this historic drought has focused on the impact that it is having on farmers and ranchers, but the health of the Mississippi River is also absolutely crucial to the economic success of this nation, and right now the Mississippi is in incredibly bad shape.  In some areas the river is already 20 feet below normal and the water is expected to continue to drop.  If we have another 12 months of weather ahead of us similar to what we have seen over the last 12 months then the mighty Mississippi is going to be a complete and total disaster zone by this time next year."

"Most Americans simply do not understand how vitally important the Mississippi River is to all of us.  If the Mississippi River continues drying up to the point where commercial travel is no longer possible, it would be an absolutely devastating blow to the U.S. economy."

Read entire story here..


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