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State climatologist discusses long-term drought impacts

3 months 3 weeks 4 days ago Monday, November 06 2023 Nov 6, 2023 November 06, 2023 7:01 PM November 06, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - There's no end in sight when it comes to Louisiana's drought.

"Things are not going well. There are a lot of farmers that are unhappy. There are a lot of people in the agricultural worldin the cattle ranching worldthat are also very unhappy," state climatologist Barry Keim said.

Louisiana has become the epicenter of the drought going on across the country. Nearly 70 percent of the entire state falls under the worst drought category, a number that has doubled since the beginning of September.

The main reason is the lack of rain caused by a stubborn high pressure system. Keim says in the last three months we've had about 40 percent of normal rainfall.

"That dome of high pressure is a very stable atmosphere. It doesn't allow for vertical mixing in the atmosphere and unfortunately that suppresses cloud cover and if you don't have any could cover you're not going to get any rainfall."

Besides crispy lawns and brown trees, there are more significant impacts that could happen if the drought doesn't resolve.

"I would say the most significant one is brown marsh. Which is where our marsh begins to die. There's a lot of reasons for it but it certainly happens when we have big droughts"

The brown marsh is another complication for an already disappearing coastline. However, Keim says there could be relief coming for winter.

"We are in an El Nino. During El Ninos, we are normally wetter than normal especially in the winter season across the gulf coast, including Louisiana, so there is some hope that things will turn around."

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