Drought monitor map of the state Texas

‘Once-in-a-century’ drought sending campers indoors and stunting crops

North Texas has had average rainfall this year, and three “cool” days this week felt like Christmas in July. But don’t tell your friends in Central and South Texas, because they are feeling hot, parched and bothered. A “once-in-a-century” drought is baking a big swath of Texas, says John Nielsen-Gammon, state climatologist and a professor at Texas A&M University. The drought is “zeroing out” crops and forcing ranchers to liquidate their herds….

The river is flowing at 10 cubic feet per second, Lyons said Wednesday. “Normal for this time of the year is 100 to 200 cfs,” he said. “We used to think 100 was low, but the last two years have changed our perspective.”

People are comparing the conditions to the epic drought of the 1950s, he said. “It’s been so dry it’s even killing cedar trees, so you know it’s dry.”

Drought twice as likely to lead to mental health problems

If you live in a drought-affected area, you’re twice as likely to suffer a mental health problem, according to a new study.

The details of the study are here [big PDF].  Here’s another story on it:

The long, long dry: less drink, more drugs

Australia’s extended drought is having a severe impact on the mental health of farmers and their partners – but they are not turning to alcohol to drown their sorrows. A new study shows that men and women in drought-affected areas are drinking less alcohol than those in areas unaffected by the long dry spell. But they are much more likely to be swallowing antidepressants. “People might think drought is part of life in Australia and that farmers become resilient, but this sustained drought is having a severe impact on farmers’ mental health,” said Matthew Gray, deputy director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, and a co-author of the study. The 2007 survey was based on a sample of 8000 people in regional and rural Australia, 60 per cent of whom were in drought-affected areas. It reveals that 17 per cent of farmers in these areas were suffering from mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, compared with 8 per cent of farmers in non-drought areas.

The shape of things to come on our current emissions path: