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Cactus Plants Now Beginning To Die In Phoenix Drought - NYT

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 05:30 PM
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Cactus Plants Now Beginning To Die In Phoenix Drought - NYT
EDIT

But even the desert suffers droughts, and this winter has brought a strong one, the fickle air currents pushing approaching storm clouds to the east. Until this year, the record for days without recorded rainfall was set in 2000, a measly 101 days. The recording instrument for rainfall is at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, referred to as "the bucket" by meteorologists, and drier than a Sunday morning during Prohibition. "People are sort of losing their grip," said Gary Woodard, who, as associate director of the University of Arizona Center for Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas, is an expert on the region's water. " 'Did you hear it's going to rain tomorrow?' Well, actually, there's an 80 percent chance it's not going to rain. People are getting very excited about very slim chances of rain."

The drought has wreaked havoc on wildlife, which depend on the scant seven inches of rain that Phoenix gets in an average year, most of it in the three or four winter months. "We have cactus dying from lack of water," Mr. Woodard said. "We have well-established mesquite trees that are in a lot of trouble." Small animals are too dried out to do what comes naturally. "None of the animals, none of the birds are having offspring this spring. No baby quail, no baby bunnies," Mr. Woodard said.

An alarming result of the drought is the condition of the air. On Thursday, Arizona's Department of Environmental Quality posted its 25th pollution advisory of the winter, a remarkable number. Last winter the opposite of this one, with abundant rainfall there were no such days. There is no rain to knock the dust and particles out of the air and wash them away.

"We've just had this large, dry, stagnant air mass hanging over the area since November," said Steve Owens, director of the environmental agency. "It used to be, you'd come to Arizona if you had breathing problems because of the air quality. Now, I think you'd have physicians who would say, 'Don't come to Arizona.' " The drought seems to promise a harsh fire season. Last year, relatively heavy rains fell all winter, prompting fast growth in trees and shrubs that now sit dry and cracked. "I don't think I could have planned a better fire season," said Tom Pagano, a forecaster with the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service. "A lot of people in that business are quite worried."

EDIT

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/10/national/10phoenix.ht...
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 05:33 PM
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1. that's OK they'll fill up tomorrow
but 142 days is a hella long time!
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 05:37 PM
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2. I think it's been a long time...
since Phoenix air quality was anything to actually recommend, health wise. It was pretty crappy when I moved here, and it's done nothing but get worse over 8 years.

And yes, our potted cactus are dying. At least, the ones I'm not watering (I should write a book: The Passive-Agressive Gardener)
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madaboutharry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 06:02 PM
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3. In Tucson, cactus are turning brown.
Everything looks horrible,dried out and brittle.
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xxqqqzme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. well, I hope the rain we're getting
here in SoCal finds its way 2 you over the weekend. It is a cold storm for here, cold, windy & wet! That's SoCal cold - in the 50's but the wind is cold as well.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 08:28 PM
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5. If this drought keeps up the SW ...
...is going to be as dry and dead as the Atacama Desert in South America.
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Pooka Fey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 08:58 PM
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6. Sun, sun, go away. Come again another day.
:-(
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