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Drought descends on Southwest

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Second driest first three months of year on record in New Mexico

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — While much of the nation focuses on a spring marked by historic floods and deadly tornadoes, Texas and parts of several surrounding states are suffering through a searing drought that has created desert-like conditions.

In New Mexico, the first three months of the year have marked the second-driest start to any year on record. On Monday, a couple of new fires started, adding to the more than 400 that have scorched more than 490 square miles.

Some parts of the Lone Star State have not seen any significant precipitation since August. Bayous, cattle ponds and farm fields are drying up, and residents are living under constant threat of wildfires, which have already burned across thousands of square miles.

Parts of Texas are bone dry, with scarcely any moisture to be found in the top layers of soil. In some places, grass is so dry it crunches underfoot. The nation’s leading cattle-producing state just endured its driest seven-month span on record, and some ranchers are culling their herds to avoid paying supplemental feed costs. … For the rest of the story, subscribe in print and on the web.

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