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 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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Quoting StormTracker2K:



Just wait my friend. Nothing better than a nice cold cocktail while playing with the hotties.


ice cold soda while playing with the hotties.

im done
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9726
Quoting StormTracker2K:


Once you hit 20 or 21 then that will change. Especially once you start hanging around the ladies. College parties are the best my friend!


ill be the only sober one who will be alert enough to remember what happened the night before.
And i wont have that disgusting alchohol taste.
Its like bitter medicine.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9726


A little old but....
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:


the correct solution is not viable


switch that beer for a soda.....
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9726
436. wxmod
Article about geoengineering today:

Link

global environmental risks of solar geoengineering have been amply identified through modelling and the study of the impacts of sulphuric dust emitted by volcanoes.

"Impacts include the potential for further damage to the ozone layer, and disruption of rainfall, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions – potentially threatening the food supplies of billions of people," said Pat Mooney, executive director of the Canadian-based technology watchdog ETC Group. "It will do nothing to decrease levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere or halt ocean acidification. And solar geoengineering is likely to increase the risk of climate-related international conflict – given that the modelling to date shows it poses greater risks to the global south."
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


what works on hangovers the best is this:
Dont drink

prevention is the best medicine..


That does not compute!
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anyone here from florida ever come into contact with one of those pythons?
from what ive seen they have supposedly spread quite far.
it will take quite some ingenuity to come up with a solution
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9726
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


what works on hangovers the best is this:
Dont drink

prevention is the best medicine..


the correct solution is not viable
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Quoting StormTracker2K:


But that is no fun!


its plenty fun to be sober.
tho ive never drunk though.(im 15)
plus the taste of alchohol is so miserable..
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9726
430. MahFL
Quoting LargoFl:
yes it seems like florida is in the bullseye this year for some reason, we dont need any more rain


I do, I've had 1 inch of rain so far in July, the ground is dry again.
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429. yoboi
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
While they are genetically altering our food,do you suppose they could figure out how to grow food superbly in hot rainless places,Grow them at night from moonlight,Crops that re-generate new topsoils,Crops that thrive in freezing temps,.......if they can figure out how to go pesticide free etc etc etc.......the world could be a better place or at least better fed.


they have that now but cost too much to do it on a large scale
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2334
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
While they are genetically altering our food,do you suppose they could figure out how to grow food superbly in hot rainless places,Grow them at night from moonlight,Crops that re-generate new topsoils,Crops that thrive in freezing temps,.......if they can figure out how to go pesticide free etc etc etc.......the world could be a better place or at least better fed.


sure they are working on it.
Food Engineers have repeatedly stated that to feed the world, they will need to engineer crops to have better production
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9726
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


what works on hangovers the best is this:
Dont drink

prevention is the best medicine..


But that is no fun!
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting yoboi:


about as good as drinking a fifth of everclear to treat it...


LOL.......that works ever time I'm sure!!!
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


they prayed for no rain...and boy they got it.
Florida prayed for rain, and boy did they get it too


LOL! Someone did actually say I wish it would stop raining in PR and well what do you know it stopped and may not return for quite sometime. I have friends that live in San Juan and they said it has hardly rained over the last month or so after it was flooding there in the spring.
Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
.

How's that stuff work on hangover's?


what works on hangovers the best is this:
Dont drink

prevention is the best medicine..
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9726
While they are genetically altering our food,do you suppose they could figure out how to grow food superbly in hot rainless places,Grow them at night from moonlight,Crops that re-generate new topsoils,Crops that thrive in freezing temps,.......if they can figure out how to go pesticide free etc etc etc.......the world could be a better place or at least better fed.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
422. yoboi
Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
Quoting kwgirl:
Good morning all. GS, try my remedy for sore throats. Gargle with dill pickle juice. Works wonders. Even had people with severe strep throat swear by it after trying it. And if the soreness goes down the throat you can swallow some of the juice to kill the pain. Just watch out, because of the high salt content.

How's that stuff work on hangover's?


about as good as drinking a fifth of everclear to treat it...
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2334
Quoting StormTracker2K:


Bone Dry across the basin this morning. Expect drought to start building now in Puerto Rico as well as there is little rain expected over the next couple of weeks.



they prayed for no rain...and boy they got it.
Florida prayed for rain, and boy did they get it too
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9726
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


its more interesting than the tropics right now.


Bone Dry across the basin this morning. Expect drought to start building now in Puerto Rico as well as there is little rain expected over the next couple of weeks.

Member Since: October 26, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 2651
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


its more interesting than the tropics right now.

That isn't hard to do.
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Quoting kwgirl:
Good morning all. GS, try my remedy for sore throats. Gargle with dill pickle juice. Works wonders. Even had people with severe strep throat swear by it after trying it. And if the soreness goes down the throat you can swallow some of the juice to kill the pain. Just watch out, because of the high salt content.

How's that stuff work on hangover's?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jeffs713:

I did not start it. I just added in too many nursing questions.


its more interesting than the tropics right now.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9726
Good Day to everybody! Anything earth shattering going on?
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415. yoboi
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect
Humidex advisory in effect.

Observed at: Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Tuesday 17 July 2012
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 29.70 inches
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 15 miles
Air Quality Health Index: 5

Temperature: 90.9°F
Dewpoint: 68.0°F
Humidity: 47 %
Wind: W 16 gust 23 mph
Humidex: 105



wow are you wearing a coat today with that temp?????
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2334
el.nino.is.petering.out
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Quoting jeffs713:

I never bashed your right to your opinion. Just don't agree with you, and I have evidence to back up my side, while I don't see much evidence on your side. Just "hunches".

Of note:

Both 2002 and 2004 were stopped by mid-October. 2004 had a random TS pop for a couple of days in November, but nothing serious.



Having a storm (even a minor one) in November and having the season end by oct 15 is not similar in my eyes, but whatever. Not trying to pick fights here.
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Quoting Minnemike:
so you take early lunches?
;)


right on cue..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15225
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect
Humidex advisory in effect.

Observed at: Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Tuesday 17 July 2012
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 29.70 inches
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 15 miles
Air Quality Health Index: 5

Temperature: 90.9°F
Dewpoint: 68.0°F
Humidity: 47 %
Wind: W 16 gust 23 mph
Humidex: 105
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting RitaEvac:
The health blog is 4 doors down, have a nice day!

lol, Jeff you started it

I did not start it. I just added in too many nursing questions.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


symptoms dont fit acid reflux from what i see.
dont know if it is strep or not but i dont think so


I had strep once but no sore throat just extremely tired..went to the hospital and had a fever of 105..I could have went into convulsions..go get it check out to make sure its not strep..people have acid reflux and dont even know it sometimes..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15225
Quoting JerseyCapewxguy:


I see the season "DONE" as in turn the lights out...by Oct 15...not just "winding down"..big difference there, sporto.

I see dissenting opinions aren't tolerated much here. Sorry to the rest of you. I'll keep it in mind in the future.

I never bashed your right to your opinion. Just don't agree with you, and I have evidence to back up my side, while I don't see much evidence on your side. Just "hunches".

Of note:

Both 2002 and 2004 were stopped by mid-October. 2004 had a random TS pop for a couple of days in November, but nothing serious.

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Quoting ncstorm:
oops...its almost lunchtime on the blog..that means "know it all" hour is here..
so you take early lunches?
;)
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Quoting ncstorm:


You may have acid reflux..it will irritate your throat to having strep..however if you are having continuous strep, you may need to look at having your tonsils remove..I dont know how old you are but its better to have them remove while you are younger..the older you are the worse the recovery is..


symptoms dont fit acid reflux from what i see.
dont know if it is strep or not but i dont think so
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9726
Quoting jeffs713:

You are only referencing landfall as something that is "active". You can have a plenty active season without landfalls, but you can also have a rather quiet season with a single landfall (1992).

Major indicators are lined up better with 2002 and 2004, and even those aren't that well lined up. (They are lined up better than 1997 is, though)

By the way, the season usually is winding down already by October 15 anyway. Making a "prediction" that the season will be winding down by that time is akin to saying it will be dark at night.


I see the season "DONE" as in turn the lights out...by Oct 15...not just "winding down"..big difference there, sporto.

I see dissenting opinions aren't tolerated much here. Sorry to the rest of you. I'll keep it in mind in the future.
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


no allergies, i only get those in spring.
and no sinus congestion.
I dont get any thing but a runny/stuffy nose after i am already sick.


im fine, then i have a sore throat, and then i have a fever for a day or 2, and then after im better i have a cough and the feeling that there is something on top of the pathway from my mouth to my lungs, like a frog in your throat but in you chest instead.
Then i sometimes cough up little bits of mucus which seems to somewhat get rid of the frog, but not completely.
And then i get better, but the remnant of the frog is stuck in my chest for a few more days making me breath slightly wheezily when under strenuous circumstances(swimming).
Sometimes after i am well my sinuses and inside my nose, down the track to the back of my throat will be very dry and will hurt, pouring water down my nose periodically helps fix that till it goes away

thats about how it is, and it recurs every 3 or 4 months


You may have acid reflux..it will irritate your throat to having strep..however if you are having continuous strep, you may need to look at having your tonsils remove..I dont know how old you are but its better to have them remove while you are younger..the older you are the worse the recovery is..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15225
403. wxmod
us-geoengineers-spray

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/17 /us-geoengineers-spray-sun-balloon

"David Keith, one of the investigators, has argued that solar geoengineering could be an inexpensive method to slow down global warming, but other scientists warn that it could have unpredictable, disastrous consequences for the Earth's weather systems and food supplies. Environmental groups fear that the push to make geoengineering a "plan B" for climate change will undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Keith, who manages a multimillion dollar geoengineering research fund provided by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, previously commissioned a study by a US aerospace company that made the case for the feasibility of large-scale deployment of solar geoengineering technologies.

His US experiment, conducted with American James Anderson, will take place within a year and involve the release of tens or hundreds of kilograms of particles to measure the impacts on ozone chemistry, and to test ways to make sulphate aerosols the appropriate size. "
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I edited post 390 for a bit more clarity.
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401. yoboi
Quoting kwgirl:
Good morning all. GS, try my remedy for sore throats. Gargle with dill pickle juice. Works wonders. Even had people with severe strep throat swear by it after trying it. And if the soreness goes down the throat you can swallow some of the juice to kill the pain. Just watch out, because of the high salt content.



hmmmmmm
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2334
oops...its almost lunchtime on the blog..that means "know it all" hour is here..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15225
Quoting floridaboy14:
im going to ask this question but what el nino? we were 0.6 2 weeks ago now we are back to 0.4. the SOI has been positive for more than a week. the CFS model showed a weak/moderate el nino by july. where it is? this proves models cant predict the enso in advance but can only hint at what can happen. ive been saying since april that el nino WILL form but not this soon i said somewhere at the end of september and to this day i stand by it.
Hmm mmmm.I'm also standing by my prediction of 15 storms.But doesn't matter.If we have a big impact this year 2012 will soon not be forgotten.People forget that climo is winning right now.
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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 may have an extra tropical cyclone or 2,3...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.

You are only referencing landfall as something that is "active". You can have a plenty active season without landfalls, but you can also have a rather quiet season with a single landfall (1992).

Major indicators are lined up better with 2002 and 2004, and even those aren't that well lined up. (They are lined up better than 1997 is, though)

By the way, the season usually is winding down already by October 15 anyway. Making a "prediction" that the season will be winding down by that time is akin to saying it will be dark at night.
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The health blog is 4 doors down, have a nice day!

lol, Jeff you started it
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Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


No pickles.I am in a bit of a pickle arent i ?

The saltater vinegar solution tastes like it could clean a stove.
Its gonna take some real courage to gargle this for more than 2 seconds.


Try some warm salt water first. IIRC high concentration salt causes the little boogers to dehydrate and burst their cell walls. Whatever, it's worked like a charm for me for decades.

Got any balsamic vinegar? How about a nice bottle of raspberry vinegar? Grapefruit juice? (Probably anything that jacked the pH up a few steps for a while would help wipe them out.)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
im going to ask this question but what el nino? we were 0.6 2 weeks ago now we are back to 0.4. the SOI has been positive for more than a week. the CFS model showed a weak/moderate el nino by july. where it is? this proves models cant predict the enso in advance but can only hint at what can happen. ive been saying since april that el nino WILL form but not this soon i said somewhere at the end of september and to this day i stand by it.
Member Since: July 25, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1102

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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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