Historic 2012 U.S. drought: 6th greatest on record

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 10:59 PM GMT on July 16, 2012

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The great drought of 2012 is upon us. The percentage area of the contiguous U.S. covered by moderate or greater drought increased to 56% by the end of June, and ranked as the sixth largest drought since U.S. weather records began in 1895, said NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in their monthly State of the Climate drought report on Monday. The last time more of the U.S. was in drought occurred in December 1956, with 58%. June 2012 ranked as the 10th greatest U.S. drought on record, when considering the percentage area of the U.S. in severe or greater drought (33%.)


Figure 1. June 2012 ranked in sixth place for the greatest percent area of the contiguous U.S. covered by moderate or greater drought, since record keeping began in 1895. Graphic created from data from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

The forecast: hot and dry with increasing drought
The great drought of 2012 is going to steadily worsen during the remainder of July. Recent runs of the global computer forecast models predict a continuation through the end of July of the large-scale jet stream patterns that have brought the U.S. its hot, dry summer weather. The most extreme heat will tend to be focused over the center portion of the county. That was certainly the case Monday, with temperatures near or in excess of 100° observed from South Dakota to Michigan. High temperatures near 100°F are expected in Chicago and Detroit on Tuesday, and over much of the Midwest.


Figure 2. Comparison of drought between June 2012 (top) and June 1988 (bottom) shows that drought conditions covered a similar proportion of the contiguous U.S., but the spatial patterns were different. The 2012 drought is especially intense over the Southwest U.S., but in 1988, this region experienced a very active summer monsoon season that kept the region moist. However, in 1988, the Northern Plains were much drier than in 2012. Image credit: NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory.

A multi-billion dollar drought disaster underway
Agronomists and drought experts are comparing the scale and intensity of the 2012 drought to the 1988 drought. With the forecast offering little optimism, the costs of the 2012 drought are certain to be many billions of dollars, and the disaster could be one of the top ten most expensive weather-related disasters in U.S. history. Droughts historically have been some of the costliest U.S. weather disasters. A four-year drought and locust plague from 1874 - 1877 cost $169 billion (2012 dollars), and was arguably the most expensive weather related disaster in U.S. history (see Jeffrey Lockwood's 2004 book, Locust.) The costs of the great Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s, which displaced 2.5 million people, are incalculable. The costs of government financial assistance alone were $13 billion in 2012 dollars (Warrick, 1980.) The 1988 drought cost $78 billion (2012 dollars), the second most expensive weather disaster since 1980, behind Hurricane Katrina.

The associated heat wave of the great drought of 2012 is also a major concern. The heat waves associated with the great droughts of 1980 and 1988 killed between 7,500 - 10,000 people, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. The heat waves of the 1930s are blamed for 5,000 deaths. The death toll from the 2012 heat wave is approaching 100, including 23 in Chicago, up to 19 in Wisconsin, 18 in Maryland, 17 in St. Louis, and 9 in Philadelphia. The toll will undoubtedly grow as more heat-related deaths are discovered, and as the heat continues.


Figure 3. The U.S. has seen twelve weather-related disasters costing at least $15 billion since 1980, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. Two of the top three most expensive disasters have been droughts.

Tornadoes kill one, injure ten in Poland
A series of rare tornadoes hit northern and western Poland over the weekend, killing one and injuring ten. At least 100 homes were destroyed, and one of the twisters measured 1 km (0.6 miles) in diameter. Tornadoes are quite rare in Poland. According to the publication, An updated estimate of tornado occurrence in Europe by Nikolai Dotzek (2003), Poland reports about two tornadoes per year, and probably has two more per year that are unreported. Thanks go to wunderground member beell for posting this link.


Video 1. Raw footage of the weekend tornadoes that hit Poland.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Grothar:
I never drank in all my years in the military. I never drank in college. I never drank. The strongest thing that every passed through me was Ovaltine. Peer pressure was never an issue.


YES!!!!!
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9721
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


its more interesting than the tropics right now.


You're right, but you should really get it looked at by a health professional. Health diagnosis via WU may not be highly recommended.
No offense to anyone, just sayin . . .
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


its plenty fun to be sober.
tho ive never drunk though.(im 15)
plus the taste of alchohol is so miserable..


probably shouldnt be bloggin if you cant handle you're liquor
just sayin
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Quoting jeffs713:
Here is another nice image:




I wish I had a solar filter for my telescope,with all the recent activity and all. I don't think it would be too expensive.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting Grothar:
I never drank in all my years in the military. I never drank in college. I never drank. The strongest thing that every passed through me was Ovaltine. Peer pressure was never an issue.

Did they even have beer back when you were in college?

I honestly don't drink much now that I'm in nursing school - I'm too busy studying.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5875
Drinking beer in moderation is actually good for you. Drinking beer excessively is not.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31539
I never drank in all my years in the military. I never drank in college. I never drank. The strongest thing that every passed through me was Ovaltine. Peer pressure was never an issue.
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25430
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If Khanun can reach N.K without becoming extra tropical it will be the first tropical cyclone to make landfall in there in a long time am not sure when was the last time.
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Here is another nice image:

Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5875
Quoting Patrap:
LASCO


SolarHam.com

As the Solar-X-Ray levels continue to climb to near the M1.0 level, it looks like an eruption is in progress. This new image by Lasco C2 shows a CME Plasma Cloud about to billow away from the Sun.

It seems that this solar cycle is having more long-duration flares, and not as many high-intensity (but short duration) flares. Same energy released, just different manner.

One is like running into a brick wall. The other is like running through a briar patch naked. Both hurt, just in different ways.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5875
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
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The Flare/CME is not Earth facing and seems to be off to the West and South
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Quoting Patrap:
LASCO


SolarHam.com

As the Solar-X-Ray levels continue to climb to near the M1.0 level, it looks like an eruption is in progress. This new image by Lasco C2 shows a CME Plasma Cloud about to billow away from the Sun.


Is that another blast headed earth's way?
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Updated 7/17/2012 @ 15:05 UTC


Long Duration Eruption / Saying GoodBye

Below is a new image by SDO on Tuesday morning showing active Sunspots 1520-1521 heading for the southwest limb. We are now getting a great side angle view of these regions. It appears that a long duration flare is in progress as the Solar X-Ray levels are slowly nearing the M1.0 level. A bright CME plasma cloud looks to be lifting off the southwest limb. More updates to follow.

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GS - I hated alcohol when I was your age, too. I got to college, and tried some... it tasted horrible, but it was an incredible social lubricant. As I hit 30, I went from detesting beer, to realizing that I was just drinking the wrong beer.

Your tastes will change, and there is nothing wrong with drinking in moderation. Moderation is where most people mess up, and have problems. As long as you don't get completely wasted all the time, you're good. and ALWAYS have a designated driver, or the number for a cab.

And for those wanting solutions to hangovers... drink water. A hangover is just dehydration. Personally, for every two alcoholic beverages I have, I drink one bottle of water. And I rarely am hung over.
Member Since: August 3, 2008 Posts: 16 Comments: 5875
Quoting Patrap:
LASCO


SolarHam.com

As the Solar-X-Ray levels continue to climb to near the M1.0 level, it looks like an eruption is in progress. This new image by Lasco C2 shows a CME Plasma Cloud about to billow away from the Sun.
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWW!
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Fabio


92W


Khanun
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Quoting MahFL:


I do, I've had 1 inch of rain so far in July, the ground is dry again.


I've had 0.00 Rain since April!
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Quoting RitaEvac:
Now back to our regularly scheduled weather program


before i get banned.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9721
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TS 1207 (KHANUN)
Issued at 15:50 UTC, 17 July 2012


Scale -
Intensity -
Center position N28°25'(28.4°)
E127°50'(127.8°)
Direction and speed of movement NW 30km/h(15kt)
Central pressure 990hPa
Maximum wind speed near the center 23m/s(45kt)
Maximum wind gust speed 35m/s(65kt)
Area of 30kt winds or more NE390km(210NM)
SW220km(120NM)
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Now back to our regularly scheduled weather program
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Quoting RitaEvac:


If you aint buying em drinks, you aint gettin em, how it works bro, lol


i buy food and non alchoholic drinks
counts almost as much
ill just hang out with non drinkers and we'll continue our miserable exsistence, ok? :)
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9721
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I
Quoting JerseyCapewxguy:
I don't know what happened to my response to Rita...I said that the 1997 season was at least seen as "active" prior to Aug 1, even though 2012 started "earlier"....

But the amount of wind shear in the Atlantic after the "active" early starts seems similar, and while 2012 total season may (end with) an extra total # of tropical cyclones than 1997 (by a few)...I see the season ending early...by Oct 15 or so, and just without much consequence.

I see a few people remarking about it being like 2002 or 2004...I don't see the similarities between those 2 years. Wasn't 2004 pretty active? 2002 was pretty quiet other than Lili. Isidore hit the Yucatan and then gave a bunch of rain to Louisiana area as a TS, but other than that 2002 was kinda quiet.

So I can see 2002 being somewhat similar to my 1997 inclusion, but not 2004.
1997 was a super el Niño I think meanwhile this one is not even a Niño until they declare it and I think it would be like in the end of September and if you are talking about landfalls then 2010 was not an active season after all even though it produce 19 name storms.
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TS Khanun heading for North Korea and perhaps the next storm at 150 East.

Per Khanun discussion:

TS 08W APPEARS TO HAVE
PEAKED IN INTENSITY BUT COULD INTENSIFY SLIGHTLY WITHIN THE NEXT 12
HOURS; HOWEVER, THE SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO WEAKEN AS IT TRACKS
QUICKLY NORTH OF 30N AND ENCOUNTERS COOLER SST, INCREASING VERTICAL
WIND SHEAR AND UPPER-LEVEL CONVERGENCE. AFTER TAU 24, THE SYSTEM
WILL WEAKEN DUE TO LAND INTERACTION AS THE SYSTEM SKIRTS THE WESTERN
COAST OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA. TS 08W IS FORECAST TO DISSIPATE OVER
NORTH KOREA BY TAU 48.
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MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 1480
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1102 AM CDT TUE JUL 17 2012

AREAS AFFECTED...UPSTATE NY...NRN NEW ENGLAND

CONCERNING...SEVERE POTENTIAL...WATCH LIKELY

VALID 171602Z - 171700Z

PROBABILITY OF WATCH ISSUANCE...95 PERCENT

SUMMARY...CONVECTIVE INITIATION IS EXPECTED N OF THE INTERNATIONAL
BORDER BY 17-18Z. THE W-E ORIENTED LINE OF STORMS WILL THEN PROGRESS
SWD INTO UPSTATE NY AND NRN NEW ENGLAND...WITH A PREDOMINANT THREAT
OF DMGG WINDS AND PERHAPS A FEW TORNADOES. HAIL WILL BE POSSIBLE
WITH ANY INITIALLY DISCRETE STORMS THAT CAN DEVELOP. A WW APPEARS
LIKELY BY 17-18Z.

DISCUSSION...INITIAL STRATUS FROM EARLIER CONVECTION IS QUICKLY
PROGRESSING EWD...WITH CLEARING AND AMPLE SURFACE HEATING
CONTRIBUTING TO WELL ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES. LOCATIONS ACROSS
CNTRL AND UPSTATE NY THAT HAVE CLEARED HAVE ALREADY ACHIEVED
FORECAST HIGHS APPROXIMATELY FOUR HOURS EARLIER THAN MODEL CONSENSUS
FORECAST. AS SUCH...MODERATE SURFACE-BASED DESTABILIZATION IS
RAPIDLY OCCURRING...PARTICULARLY NEAR THE INTERNATIONAL BORDER WHERE
SURFACE DEW POINTS REMAIN IN THE UPPER 60S TO LOWER 70S. UPSTREAM
SOUNDINGS ACROSS MI SUGGEST STEEPER MID-LEVEL LAPSE RATES WILL
ADVECT EWD ACROSS THE NORTHEAST...WHILE A DEEP LAYER STRENGTHENING
OF WINDS OCCURS AROUND THE BASE OF A HUDSON BAY TROUGH. ATTM...IT
APPEARS CONVECTIVE INITIATION WILL OCCUR ALONG A COLD FRONT THAT HAS
BEEN REINFORCED BY DIFFERENTIAL HEATING RESIDING ACROSS NRN ME...SRN
QC AND ON. A LINE OF BOWING SEGMENTS AND POSSIBLE SUPERCELLS SHOULD
THEN PROGRESS SWD...FAVORABLY TIMED WITH STEEP LAPSE
RATES/INCREASING DEEP LAYER SHEAR.

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Quoting Patrap:
LASCO


SolarHam.com

As the Solar-X-Ray levels continue to climb to near the M1.0 level, it looks like an eruption is in progress. This new image by Lasco C2 shows a CME Plasma Cloud about to billow away from the Sun.


away from earth it seems.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9721
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


doesnt it ever bother you to be called rita given than its a girl hurricane name?


This is cyberspace, doesn't matter.
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Quoting RitaEvac:


Another day, another $


doesnt it ever bother you to be called rita given than its a girl hurricane name?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9721
Quoting StormTracker2K:


Good Morning Rita.


Another day, another $
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Quoting RitaEvac:


You wont get to play with em if you aint drinking, how it works. See the peer pressure is already hittin ya


nope your wrong.
me and my GFs agree, alchohol is disgusting.
And despite the majority not, many people still agree with us.

Plus if im sober ill get them better than all the tipsy folks
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9721

Barely under a slight risk.

103F high, from wxyz in Detroit
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Quoting RitaEvac:


You wont get to play with em if you aint drinking, how it works. See the peer pressure is already hittin ya


Good Morning Rita.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
LASCO


SolarHam.com

As the Solar-X-Ray levels continue to climb to near the M1.0 level, it looks like an eruption is in progress. This new image by Lasco C2 shows a CME Plasma Cloud about to billow away from the Sun.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ncstorm:


right on cue..
i do my best.. but i'll have you know, i've been here all morning :P
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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