Thursday, August 11, 2016

Drought

(post written by Jason) We've mentioned in several previous posts that we are experiencing a severe drought in our area. There is good news, bad news and interesting news to report on our ongoing dry weather. 

First the good news. During the month of July rainfall only averaged about an inch below normal. During the first week of August we accumulated another 1.6 inches out of two separate rainfall events. This equals good news on several fronts. Our moisture deficit has more or less stabilized at fourteen inches below normal since the start of the year. The drought, while severe at this location, didn't increase in severity during the past month.  The rain we've had over the past month has been and continues to be enough rain to green up the pastures and get them actively growing. A recent visitor to the farm remarked that the pastures looked incredibly green and lush given that we were supposed to be in a drought. Given that we've fed up a third of a winter's hay supply already I am *very* grateful for lush, green pastures. 

Now the bad news. A fourteen inch moisture deficit is HUGE and it's almost impossible to overcome quickly. The subsoil is bone dry. This is reflected best in the number of creeks that have completely run dry and by the trees, some of which are rapidly turning yellow and defoliating at this writing. Yellow trees and leaf fall are things that start to happen in very late October at this latitude in a more normal year. Dry subsoil means that there is no moisture reserve for my grass to rely on. If we are late with a rain my lush, green pastures will burn up very, very quickly. 

Let's end by talking about the interesting news. The map of Tennessee counties below came from and is courtesy of the US Drought Monitor. Areas shaded in white are not experiencing any drought, various shades of yellow and brown denote increasing levels of drought and red indicates extreme, persistent drought conditions. 

You'll notice that the northern half of Middle Tennessee is not experiencing any drought conditions at all.  Clarksville, which is located up along the KY state line, experienced it's wettest July on record with 11.98 inches of rain. Even Nashville, sixty miles up the road, is not experiencing any drought at all.  Twenty air miles south of here.... there are places along the Alabama state line that experienced virtually no measurable rain in July and are in extreme drought with brown, burnt off pastures and seemingly no end in sight. Unlike the massive drought of 2007 which covered most of the southeastern US this one is much more localized. The worst of it is contained in North Alabama, Northwest Georgia and the southern tier of counties in Middle and East Tennessee. To those of us who are dry this may be no consolation but at least everybody isn't experiencing the misery of dry conditions. 

Tennessee drought map

Cinnamon and Dawn

Renatta and Dolly

MyLight and Calimba

Walon and Ripley

Donovan and Oskar

Norman and Charlotte

Apollo and Thomas

Silver

Taco and Murphy waiting for breakfast under a pretty morning sky

Donneur and Gibson

Hesse, Baner and Remmy

Silver, Lofty and Cocomo

Homer snoozing, complete with droopy lower lip

River using Rubrico as a scratching post . . . 

. . . and then seeing me and saying "no mom, I wasn't doing anything."

Wilson and Johnny

George and Asterik

Gus and Roho


3 comments:

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

We had 20 inches of rain over 10 days late May early June - feast or famine. As a child I remember wondering why my tobacco farmer grandmother was always so stressed out about the weather...

Lori Skoog said...

No lush grass here. We are also in a drought and I am not happy. Need some second cutting grass for my 32 year old.

Vivian Vetere said...

ice pic of Apollo hanging out!