Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE - In this April 2, 2013 file photo, Davis Nixon, left, and Jose Ponce, walk on the dry shores of Minnequa Lake in Pueblo, Colo. Federal officials have designated portions of 11 drought-ridden western and central states as primary natural disaster areas, highlighting the financial strain the lack of rain is likely to bring to farmers in those regions. The announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Jan. 16, 2014, included counties in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Kansas, Texas, Utah, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Oklahoma and California.(AP Photo/Pueblo Chieftain, John Jaques, file)
Drought disaster declared in Utah, 10 other states
Nature » Designation means low-interest emergency loans are available for farmers in Utah, 10 other states.
First Published Jan 17 2014 08:08 pm • Last Updated Jan 17 2014 10:31 pm

Las Vegas • Federal officials have designated portions of Utah and 10 other drought-ridden Western and Central states as primary natural-disaster areas, highlighting the financial strain the lack of rain is likely to bring to farmers in those regions.

In addition to 12 counties in Utah, the announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday included counties in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Oklahoma and California.

Photos
At a glance

Primary natural-disaster counties in Utah

Beaver

Box Elder

Davis

Iron

Millard

Juab

Kane

San Juan

Tooele

Utah

Washington

Weber

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The designation means eligible farmers can qualify for low-interest emergency loans from the department.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he and President Barack Obama want to ensure that agriculture remains a bright spot in the nation’s economy.

"USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood." he said in a statement.

Counties adjacent to those affected also are eligible for assistance.

While storms have dumped rain and snow in the East, droughts are persisting or intensifying in the West, according to officials connected with the U.S. Drought Monitor, an index on which the USDA’s declarations are based. A ridge of high pressure is to blame for keeping storms off the Pacific coast and guiding them to the East.

"What we’re seeing meteorologically is a blocking pattern that is deflecting all the storms," said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist with the Lincoln, Neb.-based National Drought Mitigation Center. "There really hasn’t been a lot of indication that this pattern is breaking down."

Poor snowpack is threatening regions dependent on major Western rivers, and no amount of wet winter weather in the East can ease the pain, officials said.

"Once you cross the Rockies, nothing on the East is going to help you," Fuchs said.


story continues below
story continues below

The dry weather could mean an active fire season. Southern California had an early taste of that with a blaze that started Thursday morning in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and forced nearly 2,000 people to evacuate. At least two homes were burned.

Three men were arrested on suspicion of recklessly starting a fire. They’re accused of tossing paper into a campfire in the dangerously windy and dry conditions.

"We don’t say the drought causes the fires," Fuchs said. "But when you have fire season and drought, you’ll see more fire."



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.