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State-By-State Survey of Drought Developments

July 12, 1988

Undated (AP) _ Here is a state-by-state summary of drought developments Tuesday:



Forecasters predicted more scattered showers, but Gov. Guy Hunt said recent rains will not affect the state’s efforts to have all 67 counties declared a disaster area. Hunt said he needs more details from a state committee before making a final decision on drought efforts.

Forecasters said most of the state got measurable rain in the 24-hour period that ended Tuesday morning.



The northeast city of Toccoa imposed a ban Monday on daytime outdoor watering. Toccoa Mayor James Neal had asked to be exempted from state-mandated water restrictions because of the city’s new $3 million project to take water from Lake Yonah. But Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Leonard Ledbetter ruled that the city must impose the restrictions because of the current drought.



Southern Illinois farmers reported rainfall over the past 24 hours ranging from two-tenths of an inch to nearly 4 inches.

Larry Paszkiewicz of the Perry County extension service said while the rains helped, a gradual 1- to 2-inch rain was needed to replenish thirsty fields. A one-hour 3.8-inch downpour did more harm than good on one farm, eroding the farmer’s land.

″The individual’s comment was if I lose my crop, that’s one year, but if I lose my land, that’s forever,″ Paszkiewicz said.



A Purdue University agricultural economist says rains this week have boosted the morale of farmers calling a hotline for information about the drought. David Petritz said the emotional frame of mind of callers has cooled off with the weather.

Some meteorologists and crop specialists said the rains have been of little or no benefit to Indiana’s stunted corn crop, but pastures and hay fields should benefit.



The drought is putting high levels of stress on crops used for feed and on the people who rely on the crops for their livelihood. Stress management programs for rural residents that were little-attended a year ago are overflowing this year, said Richard Rice, executive director of Creston’s Crossroads Mental Health Center.

An Iowa State University extension veterinarian warned that drought- stressed crops that receive rain a few days before harvest are a potential threat to livestock from poisoning by high levels of nitrates in plants.



The Kentucky Division of Disaster and Emergency Services issued a plea for more water-hauling trucks, as agriculture officials said the first significant rainfall in Kentucky since early June was generally too little and too late. ---


The Kansas Association of Wheat Growers said a survey of grain elevator operators found the test weight of wheat averaging higher than expected and near the preferred 60 pounds per bushel despite hot, dry weather last month.

The weather forecast called for periods of rain Wednesday and Thursday but a return to highs in the mid-90s to around 100 by the weekend.



Unusually high levels of nitrates are developing in drought-stressed corn stalks, oats and other feed grains, making them potential health hazards for livestock, University of Minnesota agronomists said.

″The danger is real,″ said nutritionist Jim Linn. ″It’s not just a precaution anymore. Now we do have true facts that the levels of nitrates are high and deadly.″

Nitrates, when eaten by animals, break down into nitrites. Excessive nitrites building up in the bloodstream restrict the cells from carrying oxygen.

Linn said people eating corn are not in danger because the nitrates concentrate primarily in the stalk and leaves of the corn.



Agricultural specialists said rains this week brought at least temporary relief to much of Mississippi’s drought-plagued cotton crop but that more water will be needed in coming weeks.

″It certainly has been a relief from the drought and it did ease a very serious situation,″ said Will McCarty, cotton specialist with the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service.

The Army Corps of Engineers district office at Vicksburg reported the Mississippi River open to the Gulf of Mexico with brisk barge traffic.



The Missouri Agriculture Statistics Service reported that rain last week helped crops in west-central, southwestern and southeastern Missouri, but crops in other areas did not improve.

Nearly an inch of rain fell in the southeast part of the state Monday night, and the forecast called for periods of rain for the next several days in Missouri.



A cold front brought showers across much of Montana, but no steady rain. Rainfall amounts were generally between one- and two-tenths of an inch. Broadus, in southeastern Montana, measured 0.25 inches while Lewistown, in central Montana, received about 0.20 inches.



Nebraska still faces about six weeks of hot weather, but recent rainfall seems to have reversed the dry-weather pattern of May and June, climatologist Ralph Nield said.

Soil moisture remained below normal in extreme southeast and part of the northeast and north-central Nebraska, but the levels are beginning to catch up, forecasters said.



Keith Bjerke, Republican candidate for state agriculture commissioner, said the drought affected his campaign fund-raising efforts, making it unlikely he will reach his goal of $100,000.

″There’s no doubt the drought has affected fund-raising,″ Bjerke said. ″Churches, the Boy Scouts - I think they’re all having a hard time raising money this summer. It’s not just politics. There’s just less discretionary income in North Dakota because of the drought.″



Scattered showers in the last week had virtually no impact on drought conditions that now have become extreme over the southwestern two-thirds of the state, the National Weather Service said.

Extreme is the worst category listed under the index used to measure drought severity. In the northeastern third of the state, conditions now are rated severe, the next highest category.



The South Dakota small grain harvest appears to be cut in half this year, and officials blame drought in the north-central area and disease in the south-central region, where moisture has been adequate.

Many north-central farmers report a 50 percent yield reduction as the harvest of spring wheat, winter wheat and barley gets under way.



Rain fell over much of Tennessee, which has received up to 2.76 inches in some spots since Sunday. The rain has not helped drought-squeezed water supplies but may alleviate the need for extra water usage for lawns and plants, state and weather officials said.



Door County’s cherry crop has hit roadside stands with quality intact, University of Wisconsin Extension horticulture agent Cliff Ehlers said.

The drought ″has produced a smaller cherry but other than the fact that the size is down, we’ve got a quality crop,″ he said.

″People have been calling me and asking if the cherries are any good,″ he said. ″I tell them the quality is there.″


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