Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:25 pm
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report shows southern Wisconsin is now in “extreme drought.”
The counties included in the extreme drought designation include Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Walworth, Jefferson and most of Dodge, Washington and Ozaukee Counties.
The northern parts of Ozaukee and Washington Counties are designated as being in “severe drought.” The same goes for most of Fond du Lac County and the far southwest corner of Sheboygan County. Most of Sheboygan County is considered in moderate drought status.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency in all 72 Wisconsin counties due to the abnormally dry conditions extending across most of the state.
“Wisconsin families, businesses and farmers are hurting as a result of this drought,” Walker said. “The increase in wildfires due to the combined lack of rain and high temperatures is adding to the risk of major economic losses, especially in agriculture. This is a time of crisis for many people, and we will utilize whatever resources are necessary to help.”
Last week, Walker declared a drought emergency in 42 Wisconsin counties.
The statewide executive order directs Wisconsin Emergency Management to coordinate state efforts in response to the drought, and directs all state agencies to assist in the response and recovery. The drought emergency declaration also waives fees and expedites the permitting process to allow farmers to divert water from certain streams and lakes without causing serious environmental damage.
Walker also is urging people to use caution and comply with burn restrictions as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has responded to more than 300 wildfires since June 1. More than 50 Wisconsin counties are currently facing fire dangers ranging from moderate to very high.
Meanwhile, corn prices have soared since late May as drought conditions in the U.S. Midwest fuelled expectations of lower yields and tighter supplies, according to a report issued by BMO Capital Markets.
“The production shortfall is making already-stretched supplies even tighter,” said Sam Miller, managing director and group head of agriculture for BMO Harris Bank. “The states most heavily affected by the drought are Indiana, followed by Illinois, Missouri, and southern Wisconsin. If sustained, the surge in corn prices would raise production costs for many agricultural and food enterprises.”