Texas drought costing billions in losses

Drought Outlook 2011While much of the South in inundated with water, Texas is suffering from one of the worst droughts in recent history. Last week, the level of drought rose a staggering 22%, putting the level at 48%. There have been more than 9,000 wildfires throughout the state, causing damage to some 400 homes and burning 2.2 million acres of land.

Texas officials are seeking aid from the federal government to help mitigate the expected $3 billion in losses because of the severe drought.

Farmers across the state are reporting damage to crops due to the lack of rain. New wheat crops are suffering, leading agricultural officials to deem the majority of crops as being of poor or very poor condition. Corn is replacing the withering wheat, but the new crops will require extensive irrigation. The irrigation will further burden the state’s disappearing water supply.

Insurers in the state have been working to help those affected by the constant fires. Farmers will receive aid as well, as their policies account for damages due to natural disasters. However, the drought is expected to cause further damage to the state’s economy as it persists.

Texas is, traditionally, one of the highest producers of wheat in the country. Last year, the state’s winter crop brought in more than $600 million. This year, however, officials are expecting to see less than half that amount.

There is no foreseeable end to the drought. Many insurers are urging residents in high risk fire areas to ensure they have adequate coverage should the worst happen.

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