MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Most of the News Channel 3 viewing area is in the grip of a drought, and the National Weather Service said more 100-degree days could be on the way.
Over the past few weeks, sweltering temperatures have impacted those who work outside, especially Mid-South farmers.
Casey Skarda is a farmer in Des Arc, Arkansas, and he is starting to feel the heat.
“Right now it hasn’t rained, I don’t think since June 3rd and it’s getting close to 40 days without rain,” Skarda said. “I would definitely consider it a drought. If you don’t have water, your crops are dying every day,” Skarda said.
The back-to-back days of little to no rain and high temperatures are taking a toll on Skarda’s almost 4,000 acres of soybean and corn crops. His reservoir is even drying up.
“It’s one of the main sources of water on the farm, and as you can see, it’s dropped six to eight feet and not going to last to much longer if the good Lord doesn’t help us out with the rain,” Skarda said.
The lack of rain is costing farmers hundreds of thousands of dollars to irrigate their crops.
“In this area a two-to-three-inch rain during a couple of week period could save millions of dollars for the farmers. I think these are pretty desperate times,” Skarda said.
The National Weather Service at Memphis has seen records tied and shattered this summer. Katie Dedeaux is senior services hydrologist, a scientist who studies water.
“It has been, as everybody knows, very hot and dry for most areas,” Dedeaux said. “As of the beginning of the summer, we’ve had over five days of temperatures greater than a hundred degrees or better. We’ve hit some records and tied some record highs.”
The Memphis area is classified in what’s called a ‘D-1’ category for moderate drought conditions, but things could get worse.
“Crop and pasture loss are likely,” Dedeaux said. “There could be some water shortages and maybe some water consumption restrictions when it comes to things like watering your lawns.”
Back in Arkansas, farmers are keeping one eye on the sky as they pray for hope — in the form of rain.
“We just trust in God and do the best we can, put our hours in and leave it in His hands,” Skarda said.
The National Weather Service at Memphis says drought conditions could increase over the next several months.
Most of the News Channel 3 viewing area is in the midst of a moderate drought this summer.
But severe drought is spreading in a corner of northeast Mississippi and west Tennessee, affecting Benton, Tippah, Alcorn, Hardeman, McNairy and Hardeman counties.
In West Tennessee, every county is between 3 inches and 4.5 inches short of its normal rainfall over the past 30 days. The same is true for most of north Mississippi and east Arkansas, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center.
Last week, the Memphis area recorded its 10th day above 100 degrees this year.