Oklahoma governor asks God for rain

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Oklahoma Republican Gov. Mary Fallin asked her constituents to set time aside yesterday to pray for an end to the drought that's gripped her state for months.

"I think if we have a lot of people praying, it moves the heart of God," Fallin said, according to CBS News. Oklahomans were encouraged to pray for rain to put a stop to wildfires and help out the state's farmers and ranchers.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, more than 40 percent of the state is now experiencing "exceptional drought," compared to zero percent last year. Temperatures have reached or topped 90 degrees for 47 straight days in Oklahoma City.

Historically bad drought conditions have enveloped 14 states this summer, thinning the nation's cattle supply, The New York Times reported. (Meteorologists blame La Niña, a cooling of Pacific waters, for blocking moisture in the area.) The worst-hit state is Texas, where more than two-thirds of the land is now in exceptional drought conditions. Gov. Rick Perry asked Texans to pray for rain in April, to little effect. Wildfires have scorched more than 3 million acres in the state this year.

Extreme weather has blanketed Oklahoma this year. A tornado outbreak in May flattened whole towns and left dozens injured. In one Northern Oklahoma town, the temperature swung by 110 degrees in just one week in February. More than 140 wildfires have broken out across the state since January, displacing thousands of residents.

The former Director of Oklahoma's Climatological Survey, Ken Crawford, wrote in a presentation in 2009 that global climate change would intensify the number and frequency of droughts in the state, leading to challenges in preserving the water supply. University of Arizona scientists predict precipitation will decrease in the American Southwest in the coming years, leading to a drought that could last as long as six decades.

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