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Drought News

What were the biggest environmental stories of 2014?

Environmental issues have been front page news for all of 2014. From the seemingly mundane to international events like the People's Climate March in September. Let's take a look at some of the stories that are still having an impact on our planet.

Rain and snow storms finally soak Northern California

Monterey - The biggest rainstorms in years are expected to continue to pound Northern California for days after resuming Wednesday, bringing a welcome end to three years of drought but ushering in concerns about landslides, flooding and falling trees.

Days of rain could relieve severe Northern California drought

San Francisco - Rain is expected to start falling this afternoon in Northern California and could continue for several days in the largest storm to reach the region in years.

California's drought caused by climate change? Maybe not

After examining the data from 16 extreme weather events occurring last year, from severe floods in Colorado to California's on-going drought, scientists have come to a startling conclusion. The drought cannot be linked to climate change.

California wildfires force thousands from their homes

Weed - Thousands of Northern California residents were forced to evacuate their homes Tuesday as a series of wildfires burned out of control in the drought-afflicted countryside.

Absence of 'Flying Rivers' causing severe drought in Brazil

The extreme drought now affecting Sao Paulo, Brazil is thought to be because of the absence of South America's "flying Rivers." No, they are not a mythical entity, but the name given the clouds of water vapor that bring rains to Southeastern Brazil.

Earthquake offers temporary reprieve for drought stricken state

Napa - As California faces what many believe to be the worst drought in the state's history, last month's 6.0 magnitude earthquake appears to have offered temporary relief.

Texas’ emergency herbicide request refused by EPA

Houston - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied the emergency use request filed by the state of Texas to use hazardous herbicide propazine to kill superweeds infesting the state’s cotton.

Texas begins recycling wastewater for people to drink

Wichita Falls - Wichita Falls, near the Oklahoma border, has begun reusing millions of gallons of water at the River Road Waste Treatment plant. The purified water is being diverted as drinking water. The move has been initiated to help combat a severe drought.

Lake Mead water levels drop to new low

Because of the ongoing drought in the southwestern United States, water levels in Nevada's Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the country, will be depleted to its lowest levels since the 1930s when the Hoover Dam was finished.

Farmworkers feel the heat from California's continuing drought

Mendota - Farmworkers throughout California's usually abundant Central Valley are hurting financially these days as a continuing drought causes lower yields and planting cutbacks throughout the fertile region.

California cattle ranchers looking for greener pastures

Long-distance cattle drives were common in the western part of the United States, dating back to the 1540s, when Spaniards began driving their cattle northward from Mexico to California. Then, with the discovery of gold, the demand for beef grew.

Drought worsens food crisis in poverty-stricken Haiti

Port-au-prince - The World Food Program sounded an alarm Friday over arid conditions in northwest Haiti that have worsened an already dire food shortage in this impoverished country.

UN: World security at risk unless food production is increased

The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) issued a stern warning to the world on Monday, saying food production must be increased a staggering 60 percent by mid-century to avoid mass starvation, social unrest and terrorism.

Middle East drought a threat to global food prices

The Middle East's driest winter in several decades could pose a threat to global food prices, with local crops depleted and farmers' livelihoods blighted, U.N. experts and climatologists say.

Water witches used in California to find water

Some California farmers have turned to water witches, or dowsers, in desperation to locate underground water throughout the state.

UN makes appeal for three-year plan for the Sahel

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), over 20 million people in the Sahel region are at risk of hunger and will need humanitarian assistance in 2014, around 8.7 million more than in 2013.

Drought and economy major points for Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown

California Governor Jerry Brown, in his State of the State speech on Wednesday was upbeat, yet he warned the legislature of the need for being cautious, saying "We are not out of the woods, and we are certainly not out of the drought."

Texans and others in high-drought areas resort to synthetic grass

Dallas - In today's "all-natural" approach to satisfy consumer interests, a synthetic product is becoming ultimately popular -- and it's because of Mother Nature's dramatic change.

Review: Watermark is cinematic eye candy of Burtynsky's photo art Special

Toronto - The latest documentary tracking the photographic project of Canada's Edward Burtynsky is visually mesmerizing, but it's also layered with an urgent message on how mankind has mishandled water and its ecological value.

New Mexico in state of emergency due to extreme drought

With 93 percent of New Mexico enduring an exceptional drought, two towns in the state have declared a state of emergency and local farmers have been forced to pay high sums to find water.

NOAA to track 'sudden drought changes' with new monthly forecasts Special

Citing President Obama’s call from last week’s climate speech for federal agencies to help communities prepare for extreme weather events, NOAA said yesterday that it will begin releasing monthly drought outlooks, or MDOs.

The U.S. has to get used to extreme weather warn scientists

Boston - Scientists meeting at this week’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston have warned that extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy and the Texas drought are here to stay.

Brushfires ravage parts of Tasmania, stranding thousands

Dunalley - Raging brushfires in parts of the Australian island of Tasmania have destroyed nearly 100 homes, stranding thousands of residents and claiming at least one life.

Dangerous drop in the Mississippi's water levels

Thebes - Following the worst drought in half a century, that has brought water levels in the Mississippi close to historic lows, agencies are reporting that this could shut down all shipping in a matter of weeks.

Beetle inspires 'self-filling' water bottle

A U.S. company has created a means to bring water to arid areas by drawing moisture from the air. The device was inspired by desert beetles.

Synchronized toilet flushing in Zimbabwe to unblock sewers

Bulawayo - In a case of get ready, get set, flush, home owners in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe have been asked to flush their toilets at a specific time.

Op-Ed: World’s meat-eaters may be forced to turn vegetarian

Meat-eaters may have to become vegetarians if water shortages and population growth continue. Consumption of protein from animal-based products must drop from the current 20% of the average diet to 5% in order to feed a projected 9 billion people.

Global commodities trading company: 'Drought good for business'

Criticism is mounting against one of the world's most well-recognized commodities trading companies after Glencore declared the global drought and food crisis is a "good" business opportunity.

Drought brings 19th century Missouri River shipwreck to surface

Saint Charles - A steamboat that was lost on the Missouri River in the latter part of the 19th century has resurfaced due to the severe drought conditions that have been plaguing the region.
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Drought Image

Dry stream channel during drought conditions  North Platte River in Goshen County  Wyoming  near Wyo...
Dry stream channel during drought conditions, North Platte River in Goshen County, Wyoming, near Wyoming-Nebraska state line. Photo taken: Sept. 5, 2008
PD-USGOV-INTERIOR-USGS; PD-USGOV-USGS.
California s agriculture is dependent on water. Most large farms have sprinkler systems like those i...
California's agriculture is dependent on water. Most large farms have sprinkler systems like those in the photo, to insure crops growth.
Ca. Dept. of Water Resources
A farmer surveys his dry pond bed in Ashely  Illinois.
A farmer surveys his dry pond bed in Ashely, Illinois.
Risky Business
All dried up
All dried up
WEATHER: Rain clouds gather in the San Francisco Bay Area over the Golden Gate Bridge in a photo tak...
WEATHER: Rain clouds gather in the San Francisco Bay Area over the Golden Gate Bridge in a photo taken from Berkeley.
Angelo DeSantis/Wikimedia Commons
Mono Lake in California on August 1  2014. Notice the dry lake bed. In 2013  the water depth was at ...
Mono Lake in California on August 1, 2014. Notice the dry lake bed. In 2013, the water depth was at about 50 feet.
Mary Phillips
Smolt are herded from ponds to an area where pumps suck them up into tanker trucks like this one.
Smolt are herded from ponds to an area where pumps suck them up into tanker trucks like this one.
FWSPacificSouthWest
The skies over Burma (Myanmar)  Thailand  Laos  and Vietnam were extremely smoky on March 5  2010  w...
The skies over Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam were extremely smoky on March 5, 2010, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite passed overhead and captured this image. Hundreds of active fires were detected by the sensor; locations are outlined in red.
NASA Earth Observatory
Mono Lake California  August 2014.
Mono Lake California, August 2014.
Mary Phillips
Las Vegas  Nevada has 2.0 million permanent residents  but 40 million tourists visit every year. Las...
Las Vegas, Nevada has 2.0 million permanent residents, but 40 million tourists visit every year. Las Vegas depends on water from Lake Mead.
Lasvegaslover
The view from Marine One en route to Firebaugh  Calif.  February 14  2014. (Official White House Pho...
The view from Marine One en route to Firebaugh, Calif., February 14, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Pete Souza
Extreme weather events  like heatwaves and droughts  could impact on our food supply.
Extreme weather events, like heatwaves and droughts, could impact on our food supply.
screen grab
Bao Yongxin  the farmer who has made fighting desertification the mission of his life.
Bao Yongxin, the farmer who has made fighting desertification the mission of his life.
PROOF: Photo taken at Lake Tahoe in 2010 proves that snow is not a rariety in California s Sierra Ne...
PROOF: Photo taken at Lake Tahoe in 2010 proves that snow is not a rariety in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. But snow accumulation is far below normal in 2014, leading to concerns about drinking water supplies.
jcookfisher/Wikimedia Commons
The Enterprise Bridge passes over a nearly dry Lake Oroville near Bidwell Marina on August 31  2014.
The Enterprise Bridge passes over a nearly dry Lake Oroville near Bidwell Marina on August 31, 2014.
screen grab
East Africa deals with Overpopulation
East Africa deals with Overpopulation
A dry riverbed in California.
Photo taken: March 15  2009
A dry riverbed in California. Photo taken: March 15, 2009
NOAA
Sudanese youth scavenge for food and clothing in a municipal garbage dump.
04 September 2008
Juba ...
Sudanese youth scavenge for food and clothing in a municipal garbage dump. 04 September 2008 Juba, Sudan
UN
In Inner Mongolia  China  nomads are planting drought-resistant shrub plant varieties to check rapid...
In Inner Mongolia, China, nomads are planting drought-resistant shrub plant varieties to check rapid desertification and sifting sand
Dust storm approaching Stratford  Texas. Dust bowl surveying in Texas.
Photo Date: April 18  1935
Dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas. Dust bowl surveying in Texas. Photo Date: April 18, 1935
NOAA George E. Marsh Album