Notebook: Apr. 8, 2002

A Nation in Need of April Showers

Those sunny, shirt-sleeve days in January may have won global warming a few fans, but last winter was the dryest on record in New Jersey, Maryland and South Dakota. And precipitation dropped significantly below average in 27 other states, leading to drought conditions across 20% of the contiguous U.S. Low reservoirs, early wildfires and devastated crops are the first hints of the dry spell's effects. Experts say that even heavy spring rains won't make up for all the damage.

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