Drought Conditions Worsen and Mid-South Economy Suffers

Shelby Farms - Memphis, TN – Mike Dennison, Shelby County Ag Extension Director, shows a very dry cotton field at Shelby Farms. The cotton isn't very high, throwing off squares and dropping bowls, meaning this year's crop yield will be decreased by half.

Luigi Romolo is the Regional Climatologist with the Southern Regional Climate Center explains the drought conditions and drought scale.

Droughts are categorized D-0 to D-4. D-4 is extensive, it doesn't get worse than that, he says. In fact, the Tennessee Valley Authority has announced that it will levy a fuel adjustment fee per kilowatt-hour on October 1st because drought has decreased the amount of hydroelectric power being generated by over 40 percent for 2007.

The conditions are so dry, says Mike Dennison, that ranchers are selling off cattle, crop yields are well below normal, trees are dying and this is only the beginning.

But there's hope, says Romolo. The Climate Prediction Center has forecast that there is a 30 to 40 percent chance that we will have above-normal precipitation September 7 to September 13th in Tennessee.