DALLAS (AP) -- Nearly two-thirds of Texas' 254 counties have been declared federal primary natural disaster areas from drought and heat in a step toward providing help.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday included 157 Texas counties in the 2013 designation. Qualified farm operators are eligible for low-interest emergency loans.
National Climate Data Center numbers released Tuesday indicated 2011 and 2012 were the state's warmest two-year span in more than 100 years. Texas had its driest year ever in 2011.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack overall designated 597 counties in 14 states as primary natural disaster areas due to lingering drought and hot weather.