Hurricanes in the South, Fires in the West, and Drought for the Midwest

Aug 28, 2020  | 3 min  | Ep4602

The third major weather event to strike the U.S. this month had the gulf coast clearly in its sights. Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm packing torrential rains and wind speeds of 150 miles per hour, made landfall at Cameron Parish in southwest Louisiana. A powerful storm surge of 9 to 12 feet followed the hurricane into an area from Sabine Pass, Texas to Port Fourchon, Louisiana. The port is the pathway for 90 percent of oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico.
So far, six people have lost their lives and more than 800,000 people are without power. Emergency officials say it could be days before the extent of the damage is known, especially to the Pelican State’s number one commodity, cotton. According USDA data, last year’s Louisiana crop was worth of $186 million.
Hurricane Laura quickly weakened as it made landfall. However, weather forecasters warn it could regain strength as it heads towards the Atlantic Ocean, possibly bringing rain and high winds to the Northeast.
In Northern California, favorable weather is assisting over 2,200 firefighters working to gain control of the wildfires burning in Napa and Sonoma counties. Crews have only been able to contain roughly 30 percent of the largest blaze, which has consumed almost 370,000 acres in the heart of wine country.
Ryan Klobas, CEO—American Farm Bureau Napa County: “I've had several members contact me over the last few days, um, telling me that, you know, people they've had a long standing contracts with, to purchase their grapes are not purchasing this year./ You know, this is Napa Valley and, uh, the land is expensive and the commodity is expensive. And so not being able to either conduct a successful harvest, we're not being able to sell your fruit will absolutely mean, um, the financial predicaments for a lot of people.”
Currently, more than 10,000 personnel are fighting various fires that have consumed more than one million acres across California.         
In the Midwest, a drought is following in the wake of the derecho storm which leveled millions of acres of crops just over two weeks ago. The Midwest is only a portion of the U.S. that is sharing those drought conditions.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor abnormally dry conditions have spread across the west and southwest growing by just over three and a half percent since last week. The same can be said for exceptional drought areas where the lack of moisture grew by nearly the same amount. The current drought patterns are closely mimicking those seen in 2018.

For Market to Market, I’m John Torpy.

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