Denise Gutzmer, a drought impact specialist at the National Drought Mitigation Center, said winter wheat crops are suffering in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska, and outright dying in parts of the Texas Panhandle. And ranchers in Texas who started restocking their cattle herds after getting some spring and summer rains are rethinking that move.
"Now they're looking out the windows and their pastures are brown and they're starting to destock again," Gutzmer said.
As the drought spreads through Texas, and continues across other parts of the United States, it feeds on itself and recovery becomes more difficult and distant, Svoboda added. There is no rain, and the soil is so dry, moisture doesn't rise from it, further hindering cloud formation.
"This drought is so large and so intense the spatial footprint of it won't change markedly between now and February," he said.
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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.