All over the United States, rivers, lakes and streams are drying up and are becoming much warmer than usual. As a result, millions of fish have already died and millions more will probably die by the end of the summer. In addition, transportation along the mighty Mississippi and other major rivers has been significantly slowed down. Incredibly, more than 3,000 high temperature records have been broken over the last month alone, and the U.S. is enduring the worst drought that it has seen since the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s. More than half of the entire continental United States has been declared to be a "disaster area" by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the price of corn has hit a brand new record high. Farmers and ranchers all over America are being absolutely crushed by this crisis. It is being estimated that crop insurance losses could exceed 20 billion dollars. That is absolutely unprecedented. But there is a chance that this crisis could get a whole lot worse. If parts of the Mississippi River were to get extremely low (or even run dry) it would cost the U.S. economy hundreds of millions of dollars a day. Considering how poorly our economy is performing right now, the truth is that such a disaster would be about the last thing we need right now.
Sadly, conditions have already deteriorated so badly in many rivers and lakes in the middle part of the country that massive numbers of fish are dying. The following is from a report posted on the website of WRIC....
About 40,000 shovelnose sturgeon were killed in Iowa last week as water temperatures reached 97 degrees. Nebraska fishery officials said they've seen thousands of dead sturgeon, catfish, carp, and other species in the Lower Platte River, including the endangered pallid sturgeon. And biologists in Illinois said the hot weather has killed tens of thousands of large- and smallmouth bass and channel catfish and is threatening the population of the greater redhorse fish, a state-endangered species.
So many fish died in one Illinois lake that the carcasses clogged an intake screen near a power plant, lowering water levels to the point that the station had to shut down one of its generators.
At this point, it is estimated that millions of fish have died, and if these dry conditions persist it is likely that millions more will die.
That is very troubling news.
Another very disturbing aspect of this drought is what it is starting to do to barge transportation. A 100 mile stretch of the Platte River has already dried up. The Mississippi is much, much lower than normal.
How much worse are things going to get?
The following is from a recent NBC News report....
It's not just on land where drought is taking a toll: a 100-mile stretch of the Platte River has dried up, while barges along the lower Mississippi are having to carry less cargo in order to navigate shallower water.
The Mississippi impact is one that goes far beyond the immediate area: About 60 percent of the nation's grain, 22 percent of its oil and gas, and 20 percent of the nation's coal goes down the river. Lighter barges mean longer waits for those products.
If the Mississippi were to get so low that barges could not travel on the river, it would cost the U.S. economy 300 million dollars a day.
That would be an absolutely nightmarish disaster.
Unfortunately, the United States is not the only country dealing with drought right now.
Things have gotten so bad in Russia that some analysts are warning what may happen if Russia decides to ban the export of wheat this year. The following is from a recent Daily Mail article....
Britain could be hit by a hike in food prices as large swathes of the world suffer from dry weather.
Farmers in Russia are being crippled by severe drought, which has caused a potentially devastating drop in the country's grain production.
Fears are mounting that the country, which exports the cheapest wheat, will impose an export ban, pushing up the price of food globally.
Russia is forecast to produce 75 million tons of grain this year – a 30 percent drop in the country’s usual yield.
Other parts of the world are dealing with very different weather issues.
For example, Typhoon Haikui has flooded some parts of the Philippines with as much as 3 meters of water.
The capital of the Philippines, Manila, has been flooded so badly that it is being referred to as "Waterworld" after the infamous Kevin Costner movie.
So what does all of this mean for global food supplies?
Are we heading for a major global food crisis?
No, you will not be eating bugs any time soon, but you may see prices rise substantially at the grocery store.
Now is the time to prepare while you are still able to.