BALDWYN, Miss. — Usually by this time of year, seasonally cooler temperatures and occasional rains would make it possible for Ronnie Downs to stop watering his 85 acres of sod. This year’s severe drought has changed that.

“We’re having to irrigate because we haven’t had any rain in so long,” he said, calling the process “an added expense.”

Not only that, but irrigation itself has become more difficult because the creek from which Downs draws his water is very low, rendering less useful the giant sprinkler he owns that can pump 300 gallons of water per minute, or 18,000 gallons an hour.

Due to the lingering drought, 45 of Mississippi’s 82 counties are under a burn ban, including all 17 Northeast Mississippi counties. Some of those bans will expire by the end of the month, but will likely be extended unless rain arrives soon.

The region hasn’t seen any significant rainfall since August and likely won’t until November, Accuweather meteorologist Frank Strait is quoted by the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal ( as saying.

“You’ve had no rain in October and you got only .43 inches of water in September, and usually you get about 3.5 inches,” he said.

Strait said some computer models show a chance of a weather system coming at the end of the month, but that it’s too early to tell if it will occur.

Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal,