Most Of Louisiana, Much Of Mississippi In Severe Drought

Barry Keim

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana and Mississippi are short of water, with severe drought or worse over most of Louisiana and much of Mississippi, the National Drought Mitigation Center says.

         "It's daunting, to say the least," Louisiana state climatologist Barry Keim said Thursday.

         The vast majority of the state is in extreme drought, with the drought center's worst classification — exceptional — covering all of Lincoln and Union parishes, and most of Claiborne, Bienville, Jackson and Ouachita parishes in north-central Louisiana.

         The drought is severe or worse in 57 of Louisiana's 64 parishes, and in 56 of Mississippi's 82 counties, according to information posted Wednesday by the drought center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

         In Mississippi, the central part of the state is worst hit and 14 northern counties have had normal rainfall.

         In Louisiana, "the only place not in drought is the immediate coastal zone. The rest has some element of drought, and the farther you go north, the worse it gets," Keim said.

         He said the past 90 days have been the driest for this time of year since 1895 in northwestern and north-central Louisiana.

         The U.S. Department of Agriculture has made farmers in 25 Louisiana parishes and 19 Mississippi counties eligible for drought disaster aid.

         However, LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry said statewide yields for most crops should be about average.

         "Certainly yields are going to be down versus last year. But last year, there were historic yields for most of our commodities," he said.

         The current dry weather, at least, is letting farmers harvest their crops easily, Guidry noted.

         "Rain that would come now wouldn't have any impact on yield and would just slow down the harvest."

         – by AP Reporter Janet McConnaughey




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