Jsonline.com reports that Lafayette County to explore federal assistance after devastating storm.
(emphasis mine) [my comment]
Lafayette County to explore federal assistance after devastating storm
By Joe Taschler of the Journal Sentinel
Posted: July 26, 2009
Officials in Lafayette County on Sunday said they will explore what federal disaster assistance might be available after severe storms Friday shredded thousands of acres of corn and soybeans.
Officials say wide swaths of the county were pummeled by the storms from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday.
"This is just absolute devastation for our agricultural economy," said Sheriff Scott Pedley.
In 20 years as sheriff, Pedley said he has never seen crop damage as severe as what occurred.
So much hail fell, "one of our townships had to get a plow out to clear roadways," Pedley said.
A large portion of the county's residents are involved in agriculture somehow, Pedley and County Board Chairman Jack Sauer said.
"It's the most agriculture-dependent county in the state," Sauer said.
Sauer said the number of acres damaged in the storm could top 20,000.
"It's devastating," he said. "You wouldn't wish this on your worst enemy."
In addition to crops, Pedley said at least 50 homes in the county were damaged.
Two sheriff's squad cars were also hit by hail.
Joe Riechers farms about 800 acres in the county. He figures he has about 170 acres that were not damaged by the storms.
"The soybeans - there are just stems," Riechers said.
He said he has crop insurance.
Teams of insurance adjusters will be fanning out across the area Monday, said Bob Flogel, a Rural Mutual Insurance Co. agent in Darlington.
"It's dramatic damage on crops," he said. "It's widespread and it's severe. It's just acres and acres."
In addition to hail and high winds, the National Weather Service says two tornadoes touched down in the county as severe thunderstorms moved through the area Friday.
Sauer said county officials will explore what disaster aid might be available, including agriculture disaster assistance.
According to a weather service report, "Significant hail damage was observed in a swath about 4 to 5 miles wide from near Platteville, southwest of Belmont, to just east of Shullsburg" and south into Illinois border.
The hail was driven by 60 to 65 mph winds south of Shullsburg, the weather service said.
"The maximum hail size reported in this area was baseball size" the weather service said.
Madison.com reports that Friday's storms left many farmers with huge losses.
TUE., JUL 28, 2009 - 9:51 AM
Friday's storms left many farmers with huge losses
By BARRY ADAMS
Of the 1,000 acres planted by Dan Kamps this year between Belmont and Darlington, only about 150 acres will produce corn for his 1,000 head of beef cows and beef steers.
For Kevin Leahy, it's a total loss. He doubts any of his 600 acres — of what used to resemble corn — north of Shullsburg will be harvested.
The two farmers are not alone.
What appeared to be a record corn crop in Lafayette County has been shredded.
An estimated 20,000 acres of corn sustained hail and wind damage Friday, while about 10,000 acres of soybeans were damaged. Officials say it will be days before they know the full impact of the storm, which created two tornadoes, torrential rains and hail that turned profits to silage, at best.
"It looked to be a record crop," said Ted Bay, UW-Extension agriculture agent for Lafayette and Grant counties. "It's too early to say what the damage will be, but it's going to be a large number."
The storm came at a time when the corn had just started tasseling and pollinating, with ears 6 to 10 inches long.
"It looked as good as it ever looked. It was a terrible time to have it happen," Leahy said of the storm. "I just don't think there's going to be any bushels to harvest."
The damage was widespread but varied in its intensity. Some fields suffered 100 percent losses while others just a few miles away had only minimal damage, Bay said. Farmers should watch their crops over the next 10 days for recovery, contact their insurance agents and check with the Farm Service Agency for possible enrollment in programs that could help cover some losses, he said.
The hail and wind storm is another blow to farmers in the area and devastating to those that did not have hail insurance, officials said. Many farmers last year had too much water from heavy June rains and were forced to delay planting this year. Others, such as Kamps, lost the majority of their alfalfa crops during the winter of 2007-08.
Kamps was at home during the storm and knew his crops would be in trouble when the oak leaves around his house started falling to the ground. The wind blew a drift of hail more than 2 feet high in front of his patio door, he said.
"It was like a big sand blaster," Kamps said. "I've seen damage before but not near so widespread and so major. This took everything we had."
Coosa Valley News reports the April 2009 Climate Summary for Georgia.
April 2009 Climate Summary for Georgia
April hit Georgia with almost every weather punch, including floods, hail, high winds, tornadoes and even two earthquakes. Except for a few isolated areas in far north-central counties, rainfall across the state was above normal. More than 10 inches of rain was observed by radar in southeast and south-central Georgia, with some isolated unofficial reports in the U.S. Department of Agriculture weekly crop bulletin listing over 20 inches.
Because of the heavy rains this month, farmers had a difficult time working in the fields. Many fields of corn had to be replanted due to soggy conditions. High winds and hail damaged peach and pecan trees. Mild frost damaged grapes, strawberries and blueberries the week ending on April 13.
Omaha.com reports that Nebraska's weather went from meek to mad in June.
Published Friday July 3, 2009
June was bustin' out all over state
By Nancy Gaarder
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER
Lethal heat, hailstones as big as baseballs, rain seemingly without end and tornadoes, some reported to be a quarter- to a half-mile wide. After a relatively placid May, Nebraska's weather went from meek to mad in June.
"I don't know where that switch in the sky is, but it turned on," said Ken Dewey, an applied climatologist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
And one of the odd things, Dewey said, is that in terms of rainfall, the switch went on only over Nebraska. States to the north and south are below normal for precipitation while parts of the Cornhusker State received twice as much rain as normal. Some areas of Nebraska reported more rain in June than is normal for the entire first six months of the year.
For most of the month, two frontal systems clashed over Nebraska, Dewey said. As they stalled out, they dumped rain and storms.
Al Dutcher, who as the state's climatologist has the task of tracking data related to weather, said the results are readily apparent in his statistics.
"It rained somewhere in Nebraska every day of the month," Dutcher said. For 25 of those days, some part of the state got more than an inch of rain; for seven of those days, some part received more than 3 inches.
The Panhandle received so much rain, damage reports could end up showing that 1,000 miles of roadway were washed out, according to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.
Widespread hail was reported across the state, with one rancher telling the National Weather Service that he found dead animals along the road. In the far western Panhandle, it hailed so much that the roads had to be plowed, as hail reached 6 to 8 inches deep.
Complete damage estimates weren't available, but Gov. Dave Heineman is asking for at least $4 million in federal aid to repair public infrastructure such as washed-out roads and bridges.
According to the federal Farm Service Agency, some 750,000 acres of crops were damaged and a small percentage destroyed.
Tim Reimer of the Farm Service Agency said he has received reports that 3,800 head of cattle died from the hot, windless weather that occurred in late June. Many areas reported triple-digit heat indexes during that period.
Most of the cattle that died were in feedlots. Dutcher described the die-off as one of the most significant of the decade.
Based on an estimated value of $1,000 per head, the losses could reach $3.8 million.
For the most part, the tornadoes avoided heavily populated areas. Officials were still analyzing debris paths to determine how many tornadoes struck. Dutcher estimates about 17 at this point — typical for June.
The season had been quiet until just about mid-month, when researchers from the largest tornado study ever packed their bags and called it quits.
Within about 10 days of the study's final day, there were 20 tornado reports in Nebraska.
Msnbc reports that parts of Texas see worst drought on record.
Parts of Texas see worst drought on record
At least nine counties see driest times in more than a century
updated 6:32 p.m. ET, Fri., Aug 14, 2009
DALLAS - The most parched areas of Texas have been wilting in the blistering heat for two years, but only now is it now official: This is their worst drought in recorded history.
[Here is what the drought in Texas looked like this summer:
Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said Friday that at least nine of the 254 counties in Texas — the nation's most drought-stricken state — are suffering through their driest conditions since modern record-keeping began in 1895.
Making matters worse are the relentless 100-degree days across the southern portion of Texas that has been under drought conditions since September 2007.
The impact has been felt most by farmers and ranchers in the nation's No. 2 agriculture-producing state. Texas officials estimate statewide crop and livestock losses from the drought at $3.6 billion.
"We've had some dry spells, but not as bad as this," said Rod Santa Ana with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. "It hurts bad. A lot of these cotton fields didn't even come up. It's just bare ground. You'd never know cotton was even planted there."
The worst hit counties are Bastrop, Caldwell and Lee in Central Texas, and Victoria, Bee, San Patricio, Live Oak, Jim Wells and Duval in south-central Texas, Nielsen-Gammon said. He studied precipitation over several three-year periods and concluded the historic drought level in those counties.
Roughly half the state is under some form of drought. About 26 percent — a large swath of Central and South Texas — is suffering through the worst two categories of drought. Texas is the only state in the U.S. with areas enduring the worst category, accor ding to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture Drought Monitor map. Small areas in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Hawaii are in the second-worst category.
For the first time since 1904, the entire cotton crop was wiped out this year in Kleberg County, which borders two of the historically drought-stricken counties in South Texas and has seen only 2 inches of rain since January. The county typically gets 27 to 28 inches of rain in a 12-month period and produces between 30,000 and 40,000 acres of cotton.
Larry Falconer, an AgriLife Extension economist in Corpus Christi, estimated the economic hit to Kleburg County alone at about $50 million.
In nearby Nueces County, 95 percent of the cotton crop failed, and more than 90 percent failed in San Patricio County.
Lots of days over 100
The heat has made the drought even more unbearable. There have been 57 days over 100 degrees in the San Antonio area this year and 54 days in the Austin area. Both typically see an average of about 12 days.
Jim Wells County has seen 78 days over 100 (up from an average of 20), Live Oak Canyon has had 71 (up from 36), and Victoria has had 33 (up from 5).
"Everywhere down here has been hurting," said Roger Gass, a weather service meteorologist in Corpus Christi.
While about half of the state isn't experiencing drought, the rest is suffering. Austin's Lake Travis is at its third-lowest level ever and has closed all its boat docks. Wildlife has been creeping into developments in search of water, and cities across the state are restricting water usage. Kerrville even shut down the city pool.
Read more news from across the U.S.
Conditions should improve in September, but for many farmers and ranchers it won't really matter.
"If you're crops already failed, it doesn't matter how much rainfall you're missing from here on out," Nielsen-Gammon said.
My reaction: 2009 saw abnormal weather across the Midwest.