The greatest drought in over 100 years is currently hitting most of Europe.Even Britain, long resistant to extended dry periods because of its location under the Jet Stream, is suffering.
The Sun reports, two English counties have officially been declared drought zones today. More are expected to follow.
In France the damage is already done, bringing emergency water-conservation measures and aid to farmers that will total $1.4 billion.
The price of hay in France has risen so steeply that French soldiers have been deployed to distribute rations to hungry cattle waiting on sun-cracked dirt.
Rather than go broke trying to feed them, farmers are selling off entire herds of livestock to the slaughterhouses. To help relive some of the burden, French officials waived farmers loan repayments for a year and exempted land taxes for the same period.
All of this is not just bad news for farmers but for retailers, beer brewers, and biodiesel producers who will suffer severe shortages of raw materials and be forced to raise prices.
With vines root reaching meters into the ground, the dry weather has spared the French wine-makers, however, and they remain optimistic. Eve Gueydon at trade association for Burgundy wine tells the NYT: “We have no worries about the weather, at least for the moment. Other dry years have produced great vintages.”
Some drought facts:
- Before some rain last week, March to May 2011 was the driest in 50 years and the warmest since 1910.
- England is also the driest it’s been since 1910 and the warmest since 1659.
- Germany is drier than it’s been since they started measuring in 1893.
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