Nightly News | May 06, 2011
>>> well, we just saw ron mott in memphis with water rising behind. it seems especially cruel with all this news of flooding in the medwest that the next story is about a drought, a bad one making life hard in a place where they could really use water about now. janet shamly is in cedar creek , texas , tonight.
>> this is the sound of a this thirsty texas . so brown and barren that ranchers are having to provide feed for their cattle at great expense because there's simply nothing to graze on.
>> we have been in business since 1971 , and we have never had an april like this, never. and may is starting off the same way.
>> reporter: mare than a quarter of the state is in what's called exceptional drought, the most severe category, and it's grown worse over the last six weeks. the red and dark red showing the hardest hit areas, not just in texas but throughout the region. the lone star state is the epicenter, feeling parched and bone dry. tommy works for the department of agriculture .
>> it's crunchb below our feet. you can look right here, these cracks in the ground, we shouldn't have these. this is our wet season.
>> these fields will yield no corn and will be plowed next week to be used for feed.
>> we have to plant it in the next two to three weeks for the insurance purposes. and then if it doesn't rain, it will be -- you know, it will be a total loss . rrt financial losses are heart to predict. they're expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
>> it's extraordinarily dry right now, the crop losses are going to be tremendous, and we probably won't see a trend in the pattern. it's unlikely that much changes into summer.
>> reporter: with no sign of desperately needed storms, droughts continue. and if the impact on agriculture and livestock isn't bad enough, these conditions are the perfect tinder for the wildfires that have been ravaging the state. they have claimed something like 200,000 acres so far.
>> janet, it's tough to watch.