Worst Stage of Drought Expanding in Bone-Dry Texas
MENTONE, TEXAS APRIL 5: Elgin "Punk" Jones, 79 years, calls his scattered cattle herd April 5, 2007 in Mentone, Texas. Jones, a former Sheriff of Loving County from 1965-1992, now tends to his ranch raising cattle he will fatten and sell. Jones is one of Loving County's 84 residents which is reported to have one of the highest per-capita incomes in the US of $89,471. Mentone has a population of 15 people. Loving County benefitted from the oil boom in West texas from the late 1920's - 1930's. The county's natural gas production came later in the 1970's. With very little rainfall and no central water supply, daily life is often dependent on access to water. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
Thursday, Aug 4, 2011 Updated at 10:45 AM CST
More than three-fourths of Texas is in the worst stage of drought as lack of rainfall and sizzling temperatures bake the state in its worst dry spell in decades.
The U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday showed 75.5 percent of the state in exceptional drought, a 50 percent increase in just seven weeks.
Texas is coming off it driest nine-month period ever and had its hottest June on record.
The map's driest category means there are exceptional and widespread crop and pasture losses, and shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells.
Cities across Texas are seeing triple-digit heat. On Tuesday, Lubbock broke a 77-year-old record with the 30th day this year of temperatures reaching at least 100 degrees.
Copyright Associated Press