Texas Drought Killing Christmas Trees

November 30, 2011; 8:50 AM ET
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Christmas trees are the latest victims of the historic drought that has been gripping Texas and neighboring Oklahoma for more than a year.

According to the Associated Press (AP), the drought has killed thousands of trees throughout both states. The trees have either not had enough water or been scorched by wildfires.

The effects will be felt this Christmas by families having a more difficult time following traditions of cutting down their own tree.

The AP reported that many farmers are planning on importing trees from North Carolina.

Financially, the drought is devastating for Texas' Christmas tree farmers. The loss of young trees is an especially big hit.

Texas has had its driest summer and driest January-through-August period ever on record this year.

As of mid-November, 60 percent of the state remained in an exceptional drought, the worst category according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. All of Texas was experiencing abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions.

This latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor, valid Nov. 22, 2011, shows 100 percent of the Texas and about 95 percent of Oklahoma to still be experiencing abnormally dry or drought conditions.

The drought was largely responsible for creating the worst wildfire situation in the state's history back in April and additional massive, destructive fires over the summer.

Meanwhile, the extraordinary drought that has been gripping Oklahoma is among the state's worst on record.

Since records began in 1921, the last 365 days have been the driest one-year period statewide for Oklahoma. Since November 2010, the statewide rainfall total has been 23.88 inches, leaving a deficit of 12.81 inches, according to the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.

"The severe lack of rain has greatly impacted Oklahoma's growing season, claiming countless acres of crops and produce," stated AccuWeather.com meteorologist Mark Miller.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, exceptional drought conditions still exist in the panhandle and western Oklahoma.

"Despite recent rains, drought is forecast to persist through the coming months," Miller added. The AccuWeather.com Winter 2011-2012 Forecast has details on what is expected in Texas and Oklahoma.


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