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Texas Drought: People and Animals in 100 Degree Heat

Burke/Triolo Productions/Comstock/ Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- Texas state officials are planning how to evacuate several endangered species at risk because of the record drought. The state is home to 86 threatened species.

Parched skies and relentless 100 degree heat are turning this summer into one of the worst in history for parts of Texas. Joggers run in the early morning before the heat intensifies; people working in downtown Houston seek shelter in the city's underground tunnel system rather than venturing out on the scorched city sidewalks. Football players practice in the morning to beat the heat, and children spend recess in air conditioned gyms at school.

The heat has driven wildlife into the open -- one homeowner southwest of Houston, who was wondering what was happening to his disappearing watermelon crop, set up a camera, and snapped a photo of a coyote in his backyard, stealing a watermelon.

Lynn Cuny is the director of the Wildlife Rescue Center in Kendalia, near San Antonio. Her group is running rescue services around the clock -- at last count she had 81 baby deer in her sanctuary. Her advice to homeowners encountering wildlife in their backyards: "Please be patient, these animals are desperate for water and often backyards are the only source."

Deer are roaming in the middle of the day down Texas roads, and calls are coming in to animal control centers about raccoons, feral hogs, and other animals straying into yards in a desperate hunt for water that is not falling from the skies.

Droughts aren't new in Texas -- one in the 1950's set records -- but this one could beat that. Rain was so rare back then that when it finally rained in West Texas on April 25, 1951, the event was noted on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse in San Angelo.

Hopes are pinned on a tropical disturbance out in the Gulf of Mexico, which the National Hurricane Center says will be named Lee.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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