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CNN Today

Texas Drought Cracks into the Record Books

Aired August 28, 2000 - 2:11 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: In Texas, the problem is rain and not enough of it. This summer's drought has been especially punishing, drying up lakes, rivers and reservoirs. Damage to crops and livestock now exceed a half-billion dollars. This very dry season is now headed for the record books.

CNN's Charles Zewe joins us from Lewisville, Texas with details -- Charles.

CHARLES ZEWE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Kyra, this is Lewisville Lake, which is 20 feet -- 20 feet below its normal level. This hasn't happened overnight. You can see the parched shore there up against that line of oak trees. That is usually where the lake level is. It's way down from that.

And as we come further around, you can see this pier that is sticking out into nowhere. Lake levels have continued to drop. North Texas in the third year of a drought, some parts of Texas, however, are in the fifth year of an extreme drought.

This is the 59th day of no rain here in Texas. No rain during the month of July. No rain here in the month of August so far. It's likely to be at least 60 days, and weather service officials are saying it could be October before there is any rain at all in North Texas, believe it or not.

Weather Service meteorologist in charge Skip Ely says it is all because of La Nina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SKIP ELY, METEOROLOGIST, NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE: The persistence of the high pressure ridge seems to be related to the La Nina episode in the Pacific. Though, that cooler water in the Pacific tends to favor higher pressures over the Southern Plains, which generally is a dry pattern. It steers all the rain-making system either around us to the north or underneath us to the south. So that's part of the reason at least on the large scale.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZEWE: Meteorologist Skip Eli, high pressure continues to dominates the weather situation and the weather scene here in North Texas. There are water restrictions that have been impose by a number of Texas communities. This lake, for instance, is a major source of drinking water for Dallas, but there are no mandatory restrictions in effect right now for the city of Dallas. That could change, as the situation continues, as this drought continues.

This is the 36th day of 100-degree-plus temperatures here in North Texas. No signs of it letting up. Meteorologists say it will end, but probably, as I said earlier, not until October.

Charles Zewe, CNN live, Lake Lewisville, Texas.

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