It was a dry May with high winds, followed by a dry June with high winds. By June they were calling conditions in our county “moderate drought”. We have now moved up the scale to “severe drought”. It’s still not as bad as the southwestern part of the state, which is “extreme drought”. Extreme means the wheat isn’t growing at all and the hay crop that the ranchers depend on to feed their livestock is just not going to happen.
You can see in the photo above a little bit of green close to the hedge and then off to the right. Grass is still growing in the shade and that stuff to the right is my neighbor’s lawn. He’s got a sprinkler system and has been watering like a madman. Though it should be noted that a good portion of his green lawn is weeds because they’re growing far better than the grass.
Here’s an area next to the mountain ash that gets a lot of morning sun. The grass here isn’t just dormant, it’s dying out.
Here’s the area behind our garage. It’s exposed to the sun almost all day and looks about as inviting to walk across as a bed of nails. It crunches like gravel under your feet.
Last week I saw the mother of someone I went to high school with. She has an incredible memory and said this is the worst we’ve had it since 1983. I remember that one. In the fields under summer fallow there were cracks so wide in the soil you could stick your hand in them. The practice of letting fields go fallow for a summer has ended but I’m gambling that if I drove out to the farm and found some exposed soil, there’d be something impressive.
One could argue that we were due for a drought and I’m sure some are saying that. But the evidence that climate change causes extreme weather is pretty much irrefutable and drought is one of the symptoms. I’ve noted other changes out here as well: flooding, severity of storms, etc. This is not just a temporary change in the weather pattern. This is a severe drought brought on by a change in our climate. And I expect we’ll see more and more of these in the years to come.