NOAA SAYS DROUGHT CONDITIONS TO WORSEN - INDEFINITELY.
The drought that continues to persist in the South through the foreseeable future appears to be spreading up into the Mid West. Crops in Texas have generally failed. It is thought that few now have any plans for a Winter crop. Ranchers are selling off their skin-and-bones herds as fast as possible. There is no hay in Texas. All hay now has to be brought in from [far] outside the state. Most homeowners are now reduced to just trying keep their trees, beds and gardens alive. Forget the lawns. Forget the fields. Forget the pastures. Forget the ponds, creeks and some of the rivers and lakes.
The pictures that continually emerge on the web just on the drought are heart-rending. While there has been no reported loss of human life in the Bastrop fires, it has been Armageddon for animals. The piteous stories coming out about the loss of animal life are stunning. We're facing events of Biblical proportions.
Here is one website that presently has extensive drought and fire coverage: http://galleries.statesman.com/gallery/latest/1/
We urge readers within the drought zone to prepare for the worst. There are many agencies that have published emergency guidelines. It is reported that 1,400 homes have been destroyed in the Bastrop fires, alone. There have been many, many other homes, buildings, businesses and animals, together with hundreds of sections (many thousands of hectares) destroyed in Texas by other wildfires just this year - and the year isn't over, yet. A new fire is reported almost every day.
Here is a website for a map of national wildfire coverage: http://www.esri.com/services/disaster-response/wildlandfire/latest-news-map.html
And one for Texas: http://texashelp.tamu.edu/004-natural/fires.php
It also has much information on emergency preparation..
Here are two maps from the NOAA website. Both of them are grim:
This is of current conditions and is updated weekly.
Here is a map of the current long-range forecast:
Here are some useful drought web pages:
National drought forecast:
Current drought conditions - National:
Current drought conditions - South: