The U.S. Drought Monitor issued it's weekly-updated map of drought conditions, and things are looking decidedly worse across the state of Tennessee.
The first image is last week's map, showing 26% of the state in the “severe drought” category. After a week that brought Nashville a new all-time record high temperature, and no organized rain, it's safe to say that conditions were expected to deteriorate.
And that's the case: nearly 65% of Tennessee, including all of Middle Tennessee, is now in the “severe drought” category. The second image even paints “extreme drought” across the northwest corner of Middle Tennessee into northern parts of West Tennessee.
The drought's impacts are currently classified as “short-term,” meaning the lack of rainfall has caused vegetation to dry out and primarily impacted farmers thus far. If the lack of rainfall continues through the summer, the impacts may become more “long-term.” That's when the water tables are impacted and the dry conditions have a wider impact on all walks of wildlife, not just agriculture.
Talk to any farmer who's considering liquidating his cattle, or looking at a field of under-performing crops, and he or she will certainly tell you that even the “short-term” impacts are having major implications on their way of life.