What is in this article?:
- Southwest drought woes continue in the New Year
- Severe water shortage
- Dire predictions for 2012 call for continued drought.
- Mexico also hit hard by historic drought.
- More normal conditions expected late in 2012.
Severe water shortage
The lack of water is so severe that the Mexican government has been trucking in drinking water to more than 1,500 towns and villages since last summer, serving the needs of an estimated 2.5 million people. In addition, Mexico has purchased corn from the U.S. to distribute to hungry families who normally rely on locally-grown livestock and produce.
Of all planted acreage, crop losses in Mexico’s northern states range between 50 percent up to 85 percent over the last year, including commercial crops like soybeans, corn, wheat and oats.
“In [the State of] Durango, 85 percent of crop acres failed to produce a crop, and what was remaining produced very low-yields, in some cases not even enough to meet the needs of the families working the land,” said Rene Almeida, Durango Agriculture Department's top official.
For those worrying whether the historic lack of rainfall the last two years is the new norm, Brown says the current drought is an “unusual weather phenomena.
“It’s rare to have two years of back-to-back events like this, which can be blamed on the current La Niña. But the good news is that history and climatology are on our side. It would be very rare to see the return of another La Niña in the late fall or early winter later this year, meaning we should experience some drought recovery before the end of the year, and with any luck we may see a more normal rainfall rate in the fall and winter of 2013,” Brown says.
In addition, in spite of an active tropical weather season in 2011, Brown says very few tropical systems affected the U.S. coastline.
“But this probably will not continue. The summer should bring us a new round of tropical weather and I think we may see a greater impact on U.S. soil, meaning we may finally get some beneficial rain this summer.”
While no one wants to see the landfall of a major hurricane on the Mexican or U.S. coastline, most agree they would welcome a series of smaller, rain-producing systems during the tropical season.