Between spring and fall, drought and excessive heat hit Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, southern Kansas, and western Louisiana. So far, NOAA estimated costs at around $10 billion. The total direct losses to crops, livestock and timber have approached $10 billion.
In September, Texas' Palmer Hydrological Drought Index (PHDI) value was -7.97, indicating the most intense drought to affect the state in a 117-year period on record.
Here, the remains of a cow lay near a watering point in a pasture on July 28 near Tulia, Texas. Drought caused shortages of grass, hay and water, forcing ranchers to thin their herds or risk losing their cattle to the drought.
Watch more: Sweltering Heat Wave Roasts 24 States, Feeds Wildfires