For the first time in more than a month, parts of Texas are back under exceptional drought. That's according to the latest map from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Still, the situation statewide pales in comparison to conditions from a year ago. And you can bet the Lone Star State won't be getting much sympathy from others states suffering their worst drought in decades.
Most of Northeast Texas remains abnormally dry, while some local counties along the Red River are experiencing moderate to severe drought.
Meanwhile, more states and counties continue to feel the impact. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture added 76 counties in six states, including Wisconsin and Michigan, to its list of natural disaster areas. That means 1,369 counties in 31 states are eligible to receive low-interest loans and other assistance from the federal government.
As the drought persists, concern over higher food prices has become prevalent. USDA’s latest forecast for retail food prices keeps overall food inflation as is, between 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent for this year.
But economist Richard Volpe tells NPR that could change:
“[The rain] is moving a target; it's changing every day. Until we get that first heavy rain, we're not going to know for sure.”
Daniel Charles further explains the drought's economic impact on farmers and meat producers.