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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Very Impressive storms in Zephyrhills Fl tonight. Lots of lightning and thunder. Rain rate at 7.41in/hr. So far 2.19 inches and still really raining hard.
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Quoting aquak9:
aerojad- find the blogger BarefootOnTheRocks. She knows much about the Mississippi. Also check the lock info.

Keeper. Yo. It's 2012.


Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
Quoting aquak9:
(snork) guygee, you made me laugh, not an easy thing to do these days.

So I wonder if Lot had a Davis Vantage Vue, or a high'falutin' Rainwise? Either way, I know he got the best deal on God's green earth if he bought it from RainmanWeather.

(not spam, is WUnderground-approved vendor)
There is another part about "the desert wind so dry", so which one has the best anemometer?

Want to set up a real-time online weather station...someday, aqua!
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e ull develop tropical features in the gom?
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I wonder if Dr Masters provides forecasts for The Netherlands: Link
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(snork) guygee, you made me laugh, not an easy thing to do these days.

So I wonder if Lot had a Davis Vantage Vue, or a high'falutin' Rainwise? Either way, I know he got the best deal on God's green earth if he bought it from RainmanWeather.

(not spam, is WUnderground-approved vendor)
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Deleted
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Quoting Tazmanian:





why not you mine your own business


and i was not being harsh


because you are worthy of banning for your com
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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting aquak9:
...It's LOTS, not LOT'S. Lot is singular, LOTS is plural. NOT possessive. No apostrophe needed...
Well maybe he meant something that belonged to Lot, like in that old Jerry Garcia song "Gomorrah" that refers to the well-known biblical story. The final verse is something like this:

Blew the city right off the map, nothing left there but fire. Lot's wife got turned to salt because she looked behind her.

That usage is fine.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


That is great news for the island that needs the rain.

Agreed!
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Quoting nigel20:

I'm really happy that we're getting some well needed rain.


That is great news for the island that needs the rain.
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 14327
good to know that nothing is going on and I am going to brob a much needed bath I shall be back later see ya
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Quoting nigel20:

Hopefully most of the drought stricken areas of the US will get relief sooner rather than later!

Lets hope so.
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting Civicane49:

Good for you!

Hopefully most of the drought stricken areas of the US will get relief sooner rather than later!
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey guys how you been I have not been on from 2 sunday ago so please give me an update thanks

You missed a Category 2 Hurricane Fabio, Category 3 Hurricane Daniel, and Category 4 Hurricane Emilia in the east Pacific.

You missed nothing in the Atlantic.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
I see Aquak is on.Hey :).
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
At 7:21 PM EDT Monday 16 July 2012.
------------------------------------------------- --------------------
Humidex advisory
Special weather statement for:
City of Toronto

Please monitor the latest forecasts and warnings from Environment
Canada at WWW.WEATHEROFFICE.GC.CA.

End



And I have to leave my air-conditioned country home and drive into downtown Toronto at mid-day tomorrow. It will be horrible.
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Thunderstorms are redeveloping this evening around Tampa Bay, lots of thunder and lightning, a lot of the cells are still pretty small, which likely means it will be an active night considering these little convective bubbles are quite energetic.
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Quoting nigel20:

I'm really happy that we're getting some well needed rain.

Good for you!
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting aquak9:


A. It's LOTS, not LOT'S. Lot is singular, LOTS is plural. NOT possessive. No apostrophe needed.

B. Because I can.


Thank you!

LOL, Cheers!

I am "just a simple kinda man" who reads peer reviewed information and wants the truth. Just the facts, is all I want!

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Quoting Civicane49:

I've been fine. How about you?

I'm really happy that we're getting some well needed rain.
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Quoting sunlinepr:

The remnant of Emilia is in the far right of the satellite loop.
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
hey guys how you been I have not been on from 2 sunday ago so please give me an update thanks
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Lightning strike kills two, and injures third in Houston, Texas
Posted on July 16, 2012
July 16, 2012 – TEXAS – Two soccer players are dead and another is injured after lightning struck a tree that they were standing beneath to shelter from a storm in Houston. Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Thomas Gilliland says rain halted a men’s league soccer club around noon on Sunday and the players all ran for cover under some nearby trees. Gilliland says lightning struck one of the trees, killing one of the men. Two others were also hit and taken to a Houston hospital, where a second man was pronounced dead. The third man is in stable condition at Ben Taub General Hospital. Authorities have not released the names of any of the men. The Houston area has been drenched by rain the past week, flooding between 50 and 100 homes. –CSM
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aerojad- find the blogger BarefootOnTheRocks. She knows much about the Mississippi. Also check the lock info.

Keeper. Yo. It's 2012.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
This is what we were tracking seven years ago today.

we will get another soon enough
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
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Was wondering if you guys could help me out with something. Rivers are obviously falling because of the drought over most of the country but I can't seem to find any information on what an 'average' river level is, and what is considered to be too low.

I can find tons of stuff like this from the AHPS: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo= dvn&gage=rcki2

Tells me the current and forecast stages, as well as the definitions of various flood stages, but there's no line for normal, or what's too low for shipping.

I've found a very few gauges along the Mississippi where they list the low water impacts, but the vast majority doesn't.

Does anyone know where I can find average river levels?
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Quoting nigel20:

Hey Civicane!
How are you doing?

I've been fine. How about you?
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
hello water puppy
long time no see
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 174 Comments: 54398
Quoting Civicane49:

Good evening, Nigel.

Hey Civicane!
How are you doing?
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Quoting Ossqss:
Wow Mr. Masters, you are probably disappointed that you could not use the term unprecedented again ( the word you were trained to use in Denver a few years ago ).

Kinda hard to change those old limited measurement methods and samples from years ago and compare them to today's plentiful local info, no? Don't worry, we have a few months to embellish "the cause" further.

You can make lot's of money selling access to aggregated personal weather station reporting/information over the internet in today's world.

You proved that theory.

So, how are those climate models doing with cloud formation coding? Tell us the truth, eh?







A. It's LOTS, not LOT'S. Lot is singular, LOTS is plural. NOT possessive. No apostrophe needed.

B. Because I can.
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Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Quoting nigel20:
Thanks Dr Masters...good evening everyone!

...FABIO FADING FAST...
8:00 PM PDT Mon Jul 16
Location: 20.3°N 120.4°W
Moving: N at 8 mph
Min pressure: 994 mb
Max sustained: 65 mph

Good evening, Nigel.
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
Daily SOI: 8.5
30 Day SOI: -6.7
90 Day SOI: -3.2
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
This is what we were tracking seven years ago today.


Emily was so small that most of the effects on Jamaica were from the rain despite not being that far away.
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Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7948
Thanks Dr Masters...good evening everyone!

...FABIO FADING FAST...
8:00 PM PDT Mon Jul 16
Location: 20.3°N 120.4°W
Moving: N at 8 mph
Min pressure: 994 mb
Max sustained: 65 mph
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This is what we were tracking seven years ago today.

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
151. JLPR2
Quoting pcola57:


I agree with you JLPR2..
I'm keeping more of a wary eye towards a Homebrew/Carribean storm with SST's the way they are..Bathwater..
Well I was goin' to post the current SST's but can't seem to locate where I used to get them from..
Last time I saw them posted the Carribean and GOM temp's were plenty hot..
:)


Have had this link saved for quite a awhile. And yes, the Western Caribbean and Gulf are boiling.

But eventually something will form. Even 1997, which had the super extra plus El Nino had a CV hurricane, I'm just waiting patiently for this year's activity...
XD
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...FABIO FADING FAST...
------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------

8:00 PM PDT Mon Jul 16
Location: 20.3°N 120.4°W
Moving: N at 8 mph
Min pressure: 994 mb
Max sustained: 65 mph

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 17/0300Z 20.3N 120.4W 55 KT 65 MPH
12H 17/1200Z 21.4N 120.5W 45 KT 50 MPH
24H 18/0000Z 23.0N 120.5W 30 KT 35 MPH
36H 18/1200Z 24.3N 120.2W 25 KT 30 MPH...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
48H 19/0000Z 25.4N 119.9W 25 KT 30 MPH...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
72H 20/0000Z 27.0N 119.0W 20 KT 25 MPH...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
96H 21/0000Z...DISSIPATED

Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7948
Fabio:

Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
One footnote to today's date.

Apollo 11 Lifted off this date, 16 July 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center en route to the Moon.





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TROPICAL STORM FABIO DISCUSSION NUMBER 21
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP062012
800 PM PDT MON JUL 16 2012

CONVENTIONAL AND MICROWAVE SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATES FABIO HAS
CONTINUED TO WEAKEN AS THE CLOUD STRUCTURE STEADILY DEGENERATES DUE
TO THE CYCLONE INGESTING COOLER AND MORE STABLE AIR...AND ALSO
MOVES OVER SUB-22C SEA-SURFACE TEMPERATURES. THE INITIAL INTENSITY
OF 55 KT IS BASED ON A CONSENSUS SATELLITE INTENSITY ESTIMATE OF
T3.5/55 KT FROM TAFB AND SAB...WHICH IS SUPPORTED BY A UW-CIMSS ADT
INTENSITY ESTIMATE OF T3.6/57 KT.

THE INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE IS 350/07 KT. FABIO HAS MADE A TURN
TOWARD THE NORTH AS THE CYCLONE HAS MOVED INTO A WEAKNESS IN THE
SUBTROPICAL RIDGE AXIS THAT IS ORIENTED EAST-TO-WEST ALONG 20N
LATITUDE. A GENERAL NORTHWARD MOTION IS FORECAST TO CONTINUE FOR
THE NEXT 24-36 HOURS...WITH A TURN TOWARD THE NORTHEAST EXPECTED
AFTER THAT AND CONTINUING UNTIL THE CYCLONE DISSIPATES. THE
OFFICIAL FORECAST TRACK LIES CLOSE TO THE CONSENSUS MODEL TVCE.

FABIO WILL CONTINUE TO INGEST DRIER AND INCREASINGLY MORE STABLE AIR
THROUGHOUT THE FORECAST PERIOD AS THE CYCLONE MOVES OVER WATER
TEMPERATURES COLDER THAN 20C BY 24 HOURS OR SO. THESE UNFAVORABLE
THERMODYNAMIC CONDITIONS SHOULD COMBINE WITH INCREASING
SOUTHWESTERLY VERTICAL WIND SHEAR AND CAUSE RAPID WEAKENING OF THE
CYCLONE. FABIO IS EXPECTED TO BECOME A NON-CONVECTIVE REMNANT LOW
PRESSURE SYSTEM BY 36 HOURS AND DISSIPATE BY 96 HOURS...ALTHOUGH
DISSIPATION COULD OCCUR SOONER. THE OFFICIAL INTENSITY FORECAST
FOLLOWS A BLEND OF THE DECAY-SHIPS AND LGEM INTENSITY MODELS.

MID- TO UPPER-LEVEL MOISTURE ASSOCIATED WITH THE REMNANTS OF FABIO
IS EXPECTED TO SPREAD ACROSS PORTIONS OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AND
SOUTHERN NEVADA IN 48-96 HOURS...WHICH COULD ENHANCE RAINFALL
POTENTIAL ACROSS THOSE AREAS.

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT 17/0300Z 20.3N 120.4W 55 KT 65 MPH
12H 17/1200Z 21.4N 120.5W 45 KT 50 MPH
24H 18/0000Z 23.0N 120.5W 30 KT 35 MPH
36H 18/1200Z 24.3N 120.2W 25 KT 30 MPH...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
48H 19/0000Z 25.4N 119.9W 25 KT 30 MPH...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
72H 20/0000Z 27.0N 119.0W 20 KT 25 MPH...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
96H 21/0000Z...DISSIPATED

$$
FORECASTER STEWART
Member Since: July 21, 2011 Posts: 83 Comments: 7167
BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM FABIO ADVISORY NUMBER 21
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL EP062012
800 PM PDT MON JUL 16 2012

...FABIO FADING FAST...


SUMMARY OF 800 PM PDT...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...20.3N 120.4W
ABOUT 700 MI...1125 KM WSW OF THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA CALIFORNIA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...65 MPH...100 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 350 DEGREES AT 8 MPH...13 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...994 MB...29.35 INCHES
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32275
Quoting Ossqss:
Wow Mr. Masters, you are probably disappointed that you could not use the term unprecedented again ( the word you were trained to use in Denver a few years ago ).

Kinda hard to change those old limited measurement methods and samples from years ago and compare them to today's plentiful local info, no? Don't worry, we have a few months to embellish "the cause" further.

You can make lot's of money selling access to aggregated personal weather station reporting/information over the internet in today's world.

You proved that theory.

So, how are those climate models doing with cloud formation coding? Tell us the truth, eh?

Was there a logical point to any of this?
You might find it hard to believe, but you'd have a hard time finding scientists that actually want to report on these things this way. I strongly doubt that Dr. Masters is "disappointed" when it isn't the worst of the worst. I sorta think that such innuendos are a little silly, if not mean-spirited.
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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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