Rain predicted, but probably not enough|[06/19/07]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The rain predicted for the Vicksburg area this evening and tonight might be the only precipitation for the coming week, and the continued drought is bad news for many.

&#8220If we don’t get a significant amount of rain in the next week, there’s a high probability that we’ll have to” place a burn ban on Warren County, said Warren County Volunteer Fire Coordinator Kelly Worthy.

He said he is trying to avoid such a request, which can be a long process to halt all intentional burning.

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Hinds County supervisors on Monday asked the Mississippi Forestry Commission to enact a burn ban for the county just east of Warren.

The National Weather Service this morning was forecasting an 80 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms this evening, falling to 20 percent late tonight. The forecast for the rest of the week calls for sunshine

Chad Entremont, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Jackson, said the area has &#8220been in an extreme drought for about a month. It’s been fairly dry for a good while – at least a year.”

He said the Warren County area is 10 to 13 inches below the average for annual rainfall. The water plant recorded .01 inch of rain in the past month, down from a monthly average of .96 inches. The deficit is echoed throughout the southeast in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia.

Meanwhile, Texas and the Great Plains have received plenty of rain – but, Entremont said, &#8220they were in a drought for two or three years.”

Farmers and gardeners are affected by the lack of rainfall.

Libby Beard, co-owner of the Flower Center Nursery, said the drought forces her to water plants and shrubs at the business on South Frontage Road three times a day.

Robert J. Riggins, the county executive director for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Warren County, said farmers are hurting.

&#8220Corn is past the point of needing rain,” he said. &#8220Soybeans and cotton are average right now, but if the drought continues, it’ll really affect them.”

Farmers, nurseries and local gardening afficionados may not find relief from the dry weather anytime soon, Entremont said, explaining the whole country is rarely in a drought at the same time.