PANDORA, Texas (Reuters) - Frates Seeligson recalls when his ranch last saw rain: September of last year.
That was around the time he took on an extra 200 cows to help a farmer whose fields were ravaged by Hurricane Ike.
Talk about a perfect storm. The worst drought on record in this parched part of south-central Texas means his withered land can hardly support his own dwindling herds.
Better get used to it.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, drought conditions there are now listed as "exceptional" -- its harshest rating -- highlighted on the map with a dark blood-red color.
It is the only part of the country that currently has such a rating, making it even more severe than California, where a drought emergency has been declared. Seeligson's two ranches just to the east of San Antonio are both in this red zone.
The National Weather Service says the area has just been through its driest 18-month period from September of 2007 to February 2009, and the short-term outlook is bleak.