A Texas lake that turned blood-red this summer may not be a sign of the End Times, but probably is the end of a popular fishing and recreation spot.
A drought has left the OC Fisher Reservoir in San Angelo State Park in almost entirely dry. The water that is left is stagnant, full of dead fish — and a deep, opaque red.
The color has some apocalypse believers suggesting that OC Fisher is an early sign of the end of the world, but thrive in oxygen-deprived water.Inland Fisheries officials say the bloody look is the result ofChromatiaceae bacteria, which
"It's just heartbreaking," said Charles Cruz, a fish and wildlife technician with Texas Parks and Wildlife in San Angelo, Tex.
Blood red reservoir
Texas is experiencing major drought this summer, with 75 percent of the state's area in an "exceptional" drought, the highest level, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC). The state had hoped for some relief from Tropical Storm Don last week, but the system fizzled and brought only an inch or two of rain to areas near the coast.
The drought has taken its toll on a number of reservoirs in West Texas, Cruz told LiveScience. OC Fisher has never been completely full, Cruz said, but it was stocked with catfish, bass, sunfish and other popular targets for fishermen.
"We surveyed the lake, I believe it was last year, and we had a pretty good fish population out there," Cruz said. "It was pretty sickening going out there, watching lake levels just drop and drop and drop and seeing these nice trophy-sized bass just floating dead."
End times predictions
As of last week, all that remained of the lake was a small pond a few feet deep, Cruz said. There were thousands of dead fish, he said, but no sign of life.
Pictures of this blood-red pool circulated online in fishing forums and caught the notice of Indiana preacher Paul Begley, who said in a YouTube video that the lake might be evidence of the apocalypse as predicted by the Biblical book of Revelation. [End of the World? Top Doomsday Fears]
"poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died," the passage Begley cited reads. "The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood."
Begley may not have any more luck at predicting the end of the world than did Harold Camping, the radio preacher who set the date for May 21, 2011. But for as long as the drought persists, the OC Fisher reservoir is a reservoir no longer.
"I don't know what's left in there now. We haven't been back," Cruz said. "But I would guess it's probably pretty much gone already."
All 50 States See Record Highs in July
No state in the union was safe from July's blistering heat wave, according to data from the U.S. .
The horrible July heat wave, lasting weeks in some cities, the entire month in others, affected nearly 200 million people in the United States at some point. Preliminary data show that 2,712 high-temperature records were either tied or broken in July, compared with 1,444 last year, according to the NCDC. At least one in all 50 states set or tied a daily high temperature record at some point during July.
Two weather stations tied for the hottest temperature recorded during July. The Blythe station in Riverside County, Calif., and the Gila Bend station in Maricopa County, Ariz., both hit 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.9 degrees Celsius) in July.
Even Alaska recorded unusually sweaty temperatures. The temperature at the Northway weather station in Southeast Fairbanks County hit a record 97 F (36.1 C) on July 11.
Newark, N.J., set an all-time high at 108 F (42.2 C) on July 22, breaking the record of 105 F (40.6 C), set in 2001.
In Washington, D.C., Dulles International Airport saw its hottest July on record this year and recorded its highest July temperature of all time at 105 F (40.6 C), on July 22. That same day, water in the nearby Potomac River was the hottest ever recorded at 96 F (35.4 C) (records go back to only 1988), reported the Capital Weather Gang blog.
The city of Morehead, Minn., had the dubious distinction as the hottest place on Earth for a day, saidmeteorologist Heidi Cullen of Climate Central, in an interview on National Public Radio. On July 19,the heat index there — a measure of humidity and temperature that indicates how hot the weather feels — was 134 F (56.7 C). (The National Weather Service later said this reading could be an anomaly due to the local weather station's location in a very wet field, and not representative of the entire town.)