State-By-State Look at Drought Developments With Drought Rdp
The Associated Press
Jun. 29, 1988
Undated (AP) _ Here is a state-by-state glance at drought developments Tuesday:
The Birmingham Water Works Board voted unanimously to penalize consumers who use excessive water. Residents using more than 110 percent of what they consumed last year will be fined $3 per 110 cubic feet of water.
The city water manager, William Wingate, said Lake Purdy, source of most Birmingham water, is at 78 percent of capacity. It was almost full at this time last year.
''We're looking at a dry Lake Purdy sometime in August or in September if nothing is done,'' he said.
Drought conditions are boosting traffic on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. Officials report a 92 percent increase in traffic along the waterway over the past 11 days. Unlike the Mississippi River, the waterway has not suffered from low water levels.
Crop dusters report their industry is depressed, with much farmland unplanted and many farmers waiting for rain before they spray herbicides.
Georgia's lakes may be evaporating in the drought, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers promised Tuesday to keep them as full as possible through the Fourth of July holiday. The corps said Lake Lanier, a popular recreation area northeast of Atlanta, is falling at a rate of about 6 inches a week and could drop to a record low by the end of the year.
''The feed situation is critical,'' said Roger Nesbitt, the Kentucky Agriculture Department's hay coordinator.
The National Weather Service offered a hope of scattered thundershowers with the arrival of a cold front from the Great Lakes, but said significant rainfall would miss Kentucky.
Many Illinois communities have canceled fireworks displays because of the drought and one tree farmer said the drought may even spoil Christmas - in 1996.
Ted Curtain, who owns a Christmas tree farm in central Illinois, said 30 percent of his 2,000 newly planted white and Scotch pines - which would be ready for harvest in eight years - have died and another 30 percent are at the borderline between life and death.
In Lansing, Mich., parks officials arranged for extra watering of baseball diamonds after residents complained of dust blowing off the fields because of lack of moisture.
The current average height of corn is about 16 inches, one inch shorter than the five-year average, and about half as high as this time last year.
''We know it looks like corn will be severely damaged, and probably soybeans,'' said Jerry Dunn of the Michigan Department of Agriculture.
Governor Tommy Thompson signed an executive order banning fireworks displays and open fires statewide because of tinder-dry conditions. Local governments and the Department of Natural Resources can make exceptions where conditions allow.
Buzz Besadny, natural resources secretary, said the drought requires ''serious and drastic'' measures. He said parts of the Wisconsin River are lower than they have been in more than 100 years.
Resort and lake property owners flooded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' phones because they thought officials were considering draining six north- central Minnesota lakes so Minneapolis and St. Paul would have more water for sprinkling lawns.
''If in fact we do make abnormal releases from these reservoirs, it will be either to support navigation or water quality or in the case of extreme drought conditions to sustain human life,'' said Jim Ruyak, area reservoirs manager for the Army corps in Remer, Minn.
A heat alert in St. Louis was downgraded after two days of moderating temperatures. Ten deaths were blamed on the heat wave in Missouri, where temperatures soared above 100 degrees last week.
A state representative urged Gov. John Ashcroft to call a special session of the legislature to aid in the rural drought crisis. State Treasurer Wendell Bailey said $2.5 million is available in the state's low-interest loan program for drought-stricken farmers.
A farmer is paying for 16 Hopi Indians to fly from Arizona to drought- parched Iowa to do a rain dance. The Hopis are to arrive Saturday.
Gov. Terry Branstad said he would not call for a statewide ban on fireworks at Independence Day celebrations but is urging local officials to examine the fire risk in their areas carefully.
Stanley Grant, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, warned the Governor's Drought Response Team that the recent dry spell could be part of a climatic change that could turn Kansas into a desert in the next 25 to 50 years.
Col. Mahlon Weed of the state Office of Emergency Preparedness said the biggest problem now is lack of water for cattle as farm ponds dry up.
Some cities and villages in southeast Nebraska have banned the sale or use of fireworks through the Fourth of July because they might set the dried grass ablaze.
The city of Seward was watering down football and soccer fields to prepare for its Independence Day fireworks display.
Low water forced rationing in Dawson and Table Rock, and water supplies are marginal in another 30 to 50 towns in Nebraska, the state Health Department said.
Stream flow is less than 25 percent of normal statewide, said Gregg Wiche, a hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey's water resources division office in Bismarck. He called them ''critically low'' levels.
The federal government froze its grain inventories in three North Dakota counties to ensure that there will be feed for livestock farmers.
Firefighters struggled Tuesday to contain a fire that has consumed 58,300 acres of timber and grass along the Montana-South Dakota border since it was sparked by lightning June 20.
About 60 miles to the southwest, some 200 volunteers managed to control another fire that burned several hundred acres of grass and timber.
Jack Kendley at the Billings Interagency Dispatch Center said fire conditions remained extreme, and he urged residents to be cautious with fire.
''It could happen tomorrow, again,'' he said.