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Phillips County, Arkansas on Sept. 28, 2019. Southern Arkansas is experiencing abnormally dry and moderate drought conditions. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein via Getty Images

High temperatures and fast-acting dry spells in the South reported last week have boiled over into a "flash drought" blasting 56 million people with dry heat, AP reports.

What's happening: Parts of Georgia, Texas, Alabama and South Carolina are currently in extreme drought zones, while most of the South is in an abnormally dry or moderate to severe drought. Farmers are concerned "that cattle, cotton and corn are suffering after a summer of record highs and very little rain," per AP.

  • Rain in the Southeast became scarce approximately 10 weeks ago, the New York Times reports.
  • Most fields in affected states — like Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee and West Virginia — are in either poor or very poor condition, according to the latest crop report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

What's next: The monthly U.S. drought outlook indicates the drought is expected to persist through October in most affected states.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden set to inherit Trump's TikTok conundrum

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Donald Trump has one day left in the White House. TikTok has a lot longer left in the app stores, despite still being owned by China's ByteDance.

Why it matters: Trump's failure to force divestiture or eviction was more than just a blunder, or source of schadenfreude for the TikTok users who bedeviled his reelection campaign's event planners. It was part of a "talk loudly and carry a small stick" economic policy toward China that Joe Biden will inherit.

Journalism enters dangerous new era

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Capitol attack on Jan. 6 resulted in at least nine physical assaults against journalists and at least five arrests, per the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker's top editor.

Why it matters: President Trump's harsh rhetoric towards the press has empowered leaders abroad and locally in the U.S. to continue to attack press that they don't like.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The beginning of the beginning for Biden's climate push

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Joe Biden's inauguration and the days right after will bring a rat-tat-tat burst of climate policy moves, but keep this in mind amid the splashy pledges: pushing through most of his agenda will be a long, uncertain slog.

Why it matters: Biden's climate plan is far more expansive than anything contemplated under President Obama. But for all the immediate pledges, it will take years to see how far Biden gets.