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drought

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Dry months of the year have been getting hotter in large parts of the U.S.

Felicia Chiang is the lead author of a new study on droughts and climate change, from the University of California-Irvine.

“Essentially we found that droughts are warming faster than the average climate in the southern, the midwestern and the northeastern states of the U.S.,” she says.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Detroit area usually gets more than three inches of rain in July. This year, that number was closer to one inch.

This has been a dry summer all over the state. Most of the Lower Peninsula is experiencing drier-than-normal weather and some parts of the state are even in the midst of a drought. According to the United States Drought Monitor, this is Michigan's third unusually dry year in a row, making this look like a new normal.

An unusually dry, hot June is hurting crops across the Midwest, including Michigan.

Everything from beans to sugar beets to wheat is suffering, says Kate Krepps of the Michigan Farm Bureau.

"It's been a strange year," says Krepps.  "We had such a wet beginning, so it was really challenging for folks to get crops in the field in a lot of different areas, particularly in southern Michigan.  And then they got them in the field, and we haven't had much rain since then."

The situation could reduce yields and profits for the roughly 75,000 people who farm in the state.

Rogerio Fernandes

Coloring books are more popular than ever. Adults are encouraged to use them as stress relievers and an easy outlet for creativity.

Kathryn Curtis, a University of Michigan School of Public Policy graduate, is hoping to use coloring books to raise awareness of the problem of water security in Brazil and the U.S.

After spending a year in Brazil and seeing firsthand how the drought has affected farmers there, she decided to create a "plantable" coloring book that she hopes will get people talking about the negative effects of drought.

Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger

We’ve seen the images of the ferocious drought in the West. In Michigan, that drought has affected beef prices, which have skyrocketed upwards of 34%, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

 

Rick Magner, who owns Ann Arbor’s iconic Blimpy Burger, says he's seen beef prices rise 40 cents in the last month. Magner says he had to raise the price of a burger from $2.44 two years ago to the current $3.49.

Magner says so far customers haven’t really complained about the increased price of burgers, and he isn’t worried about raising prices again, saying, “eventually it’ll level out.” 

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) - A long summer drought has caused a shortage of hay in Michigan and sent prices skyrocketing.

The Detroit News reports Saturday that as a result, farmers, rescue groups and private owners throughout the state are struggling to feed their stocks, cutting budgets, turning to outside help and even leaving Michigan to purchase hay.

Cindy Ashley is the barn manager at Horses' Haven, a Howell-based nonprofit group that cares for aged, abused, rescued and neglected animals.

Michigan Corn Quality
USDA / USDA

Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declared four additional Michigan counties natural disaster areas due to continuing dry conditions.

Branch, Cass, Hillsdale, and St. Joseph counties have all joined the list.

This brings the number of counties experiencing drought up to 38 in Michigan, and 1,234 nationally, as counted during the 2012 crop year.

Michigan’s municipal water systems appear to be holding up well as a mild drought increases demand for water.

The drought is most acute in southern parts of Michigan.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Look at any of the scorched lawns in Michigan, and you can see the state is in the grip of a drought. And the grip is tightening.