Expert warns of slow recovery

Source: Paul Quinlan, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 24, 2012

Fifty-three percent of the nation is gripped by at least moderate drought conditions — up 1 percentage point from last week — but areas considered in severe and extreme drought decreased, a University of Nebraska climatologist warned today.

Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln called the center’s latest drought map a “mixed bag.”

The map shows improving conditions in much of the Corn Belt, the mid-Atlantic and the Southeast regions, he said, but intensifying drought in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

Recovery is likely to be slow, Svoboda warned.

“We’ve reached the apex of our precipitation for the mid-section of the country — it’s pretty much downhill from here until next spring — so rapid, large-scale improvements would be unexpected, although certainly not impossible,” he said in a statement. “Mother Nature has a way of tipping the scales back quite rapidly at times, too rapidly, in fact, but at this point we’ll take what we can get whenever we can get it.”