…from the US Drought Monitor. They state that parts of the southeast “recorded their driest 60-day periods on record.” Walking in the woods confirms the map’s testimony: blueberries, hollies, mountain laurel, hickories — all shriveled and crisped. To see these drought-adapted plants pushed beyond their limits is astonishing. Hopefully they got enough invested into their buds in summertime that they’ll be able to try again next year, but it seems that many may succumb.
The map also shows drought over parts of California, a familiar pattern now. Compared to this time last year, the “exceptional” drought area is slightly smaller. Conditions have been so dry in the western US that the “missing” water from dry soil has caused that side of the continent to weigh less (by 240 gigatons in 2014), resulting in a crustal rebound of up to 5mm. Drought with geologic consequences.
So here’s the obligatory cracked-mud cliché photo. For those familiar with Sewanee: this is the Lake Cheston “beach” area.