Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Drought for the Ages

Drought, a fixture in much of the West for nearly a decade, now covers more than one- third of the continental USA. And it's spreading. This drought has been particularly harsh in three regions: the Southwest, the Southeast and northern Minnesota.

Deep cracks cover the bottom of what should be five- feet deep Lake Okeechobee near Okeechobee, Fla. in early May. On June 1, the lake broke a record for its all- time low water level.

As summer starts, half the nation is either abnormally dry or in outright drought from prolonged lack of rain that could lead to water shortages, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a weekly index of conditions. Welcome rainfall last weekend from Tropical Storm Barry brought short-term relief to parts of the fire- scorched Southeast. But up to 50 inches of rain is needed to end the drought there, and this is the driest spring in the Southeast since record-keeping began in 1895, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

Dry episodes have become so persistent in the West that some scientists and water managers say drought is the "new normal" there. Reinforcing that notion are global- warming projections warning of more and deeper dry spells in the Southwest, although a report in last week's Science magazine challenges the climate models and suggests there will be more rainfall worldwide later this century.

Donald Wilhite of the National Drought Mitigation Center says the Southwest and Southeast are "becoming gradually more vulnerable to drought" because the rising population will need more water. "We think of water as an unlimited resource," he says. "But what happens when you turn on the tap and it's not there?" View a map of drought conditions across the U.S. (NOAA)

(Source: Intercessors for America)

· Dear Heavenly Father, we humbly ask You to once again open up Your Heavens and allow it to rain. May Your heavens open Lord when it will bring You the most glory. Lord, only You can do this; and we ask in childlike obedience and faith that You will bring to an end this drought for Your power, might and glory. Amen.

· "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain for three years and six months, and he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit." (James 5: 17-18 NKJV)