Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Isaac could bring some help to worst drought area

Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to become a Category 1 hurricane and may cause widespread damage along the Gulf Coast, but as it moves inland, weakens and dumps its moisture, it could be a welcome visitor to one of the most drought-parched regions of the U.S., notes Ron Scherer of The Christian Science Monitor. (Map from The Weather Channel shows where storm could go)

"Although it is probably too late to help this year’s harvest, agricultural experts say the rain could help recharge the soil for next year’s crop in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio," especially winter wheat, Scherer writes. "It could also add needed water to the river systems that drain into the Mississippi. And by adding moisture to the air, the storm may also set the stage for more rain in the future in some drought-affected areas."

Scherer quotes Dale Mohler, senior meteorologist for Accuweather: “Everyone will welcome this rain. The benefits outweigh the negatives.” But Bill Lapp, president of Advanced Economic Solutions, an agricultural consulting firm, said the rain will come not only too late for this year's crops, high winds "may knock down crops already weakened by the minimal moisture, increasing the harvest losses," Scherer reports.

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