Drought Continues Dry Grip On South Mississippi

Dry. Dusty. Parched. Those words all describe the condition created by a serious lack of rain. And rainfall in South Mississippi is far below normal.

The bad news is there's little relief in sight.

Webster defines drought as "a prolonged period of dryness." South Mississippians can relate. Dusty roads, thirsty lawns and depleted wells all point to a serious lack of rain.

A newly installed sprinkler system wets the plants at Driftwood Nursery and Gulf Coast Landscaping. Like all of South Mississippi, that Woolmarket business is bone dry.

"Drier than I've ever seen it. It's hard to believe how dry it is. You can't even walk without a dust cloud following you," said Drummond.

For the landscape business owner, watering isn't an option. Green plants from South Florida represent a big investment. Keeping them green means keeping them wet.

"Of course, they're grown in nurseries there and they're used to being watered. They're in pots, which are contained environments and they dry out quickly," he said.

"I'm hopeful we'll get the rain. I'm fixing the down spouts," said Roy Vaughan, who followed the comment with a chuckle.

While he fixes the very dry down spouts and gutters, his "Rain Bird" gives the newly laid sod a good soaking. Overhead clouds look somewhat promising, but don't seem to deliver.

"It's amazing. It seems like every other year we get into this drought situation and don't seem to get any rain here along the coast," said Vaughan.

Lawn sprinklers have had to pick up the slack for Mother Nature. So far this year, the rainfall total is just over two inches. That's more than five times below normal. And April has been especially dry, with only .01 of an inch so far.

Roy Vaughan's down spouts will be ready for the next showers, if they ever arrive.

"Yeah. Maybe we'll get some by the weekend," he mused.

South Mississippi certainly isn't alone in the drought. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, more than half the country is experiencing conditions from "abnormally dry" to "extreme drought."