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

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

Share this Blog
39
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 644 - 594

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20Blog Index

The National Weather Service in Miami has issued an

* Urban Flood Advisory for minor flooding of poor drainage areas
in...
northeastern Broward County in Southeast Florida...
this includes the city of Deerfield Beach...
southeastern Palm Beach County in Southeast Florida...
this includes the cities of... Delray Beach... Boynton Beach... Boca
Raton...

* until 415 PM EDT

* at 220 PM EDT an area of heavy showers and thunderstorms will
continue to spread east across northern Broward and southern Palm
Beach counties this afternoon. The combination of the heavy
rainfall from yesterday evening and today... plus another 1 to 2
inches has already led to localized flooding... especially in the
low lying and flood prone areas.

Heavy rainfall will cause ponding of water in urban areas, highways,
streets and underpasses as well as other poor drainage areas and low
lying spots. Runoff will also cause elevated waters levels in canals
and ditches.

Lat... Lon 2628 8009 2628 8028 2653 8020 2659 8004


Rivera
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

NASA Image Reveals Drought Impacts on Vegetation

Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9737
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:
Say what? ;-)

BEGIN
HPC_ATCF
invest_al912012.invest
FSTDA
R
U
040
010
0000
201207171807
NONE
NOTIFY=ATRP
END
INVEST, AL, L, , , , , 91, 2012, DB, O, 2012071718, 9999999999, , , , , , METWATCH, , AL912012
AL, 91, 2012071718, , BEST, 0, 398N, 552W, 25, 0, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,

ORLY?
Will likely not amount to anything.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
... Funnel clouds are possible in northern Hillsborough and southern
Pasco counties...

At 216 PM EDT... the public reported a funnel cloud in Thonotosassa
area... near U.S. 301 and Ohio av. Doppler radar showed the storm
moving northeast at 10 mph.

This includes Interstate 75 between exits 260 and 266.

Funnel clouds can become brief... small... but dangerous tornadoes.
Move indoors immediately... and stay away from windows.


Lat... Lon 2825 8225 2807 8210 2795 8234 2809 8246
time... Mot... loc 1816z 243deg 8kt 2807 8235
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24471
Quoting GeorgiaStormz:


wait what, 91?
fake?
I don't think so look at atlanticLink
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FtMyersgal:


LOL. When I moved here in '82 Daniels Parkways as a 2 lane partly dirt road. It's now a six lane divided highway all the way to Lehigh Acres. Times change. BTW, you definately would not recognize Miami!
I can tell you how much things have changed in Fort Myers since the 1960,s, but it would take to long. I will tell you that it was a fairly small place back then compared to what is now. My Father worked for Duane Hall Surveying in the 60,s and lived on Gladiolus Dr. The Edison Mall was smaller and had a movie theater and a game room called the Fun Tunnel. There was also a Skate Board park across 41 where The Bee Factory is or was. It went out of business in the early 80,s and was grow over by woods. We had property in Island Park when there was nothing there but a few houses. We used to pick up pieces of a helicopter that crashed there off of Island Park road...The memories..:)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:
Say what? ;-)

BEGIN
HPC_ATCF
invest_al912012.invest
FSTDA
R
U
040
010
0000
201207171807
NONE
NOTIFY=ATRP
END
INVEST, AL, L, , , , , 91, 2012, DB, O, 2012071718, 9999999999, , , , , , METWATCH, , AL912012
AL, 91, 2012071718, , BEST, 0, 398N, 552W, 25, 0, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,

ORLY?


wait what, 91?
fake?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9737
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect

Extreme heat and high humidex in effect.



Observed at: Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Tuesday 17 July 2012
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 29.69 inches
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 15 miles
Air Quality Health Index: 5

Temperature: 97.2�F
Dewpoint: 70.0�F
Humidity: 42 %
Wind: W 17 gust 32 mph
Humidex: 112

Ug. I'll never forget I played in a softball tournament in Toronto about 10-15 years ago in early July. The temp was 95 (35 C) and it was so dang hot. The coolest place in the city was the subway. Yup 95 in FL a lot easier to deal with than Toronto. The awards ceremony were held in a curling arena.... no air conditioning..... ahhhhh I remember those days...lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Articuno:

Whoa! Almost every spot in the country has a chance of rain or tstms


We just had a very rare thunderstorm here in NoCal this morning.

And our fourth rain since the first of June. That's 2-3 more than normal. Wettest summer I can remember in 20 years.
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
630. yoboi
Quoting Minnemike:
that is correct, porcelain is non-conductive.



that's not really a true statement everything is conductive to a certain degree....
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2396
Say what? ;-)

BEGIN
HPC_ATCF
invest_al912012.invest
FSTDA
R
U
040
010
0000
201207171807
NONE
NOTIFY=ATRP
END
INVEST, AL, L, , , , , 91, 2012, DB, O, 2012071718, 9999999999, , , , , , METWATCH, , AL912012
AL, 91, 2012071718, , BEST, 0, 398N, 552W, 25, 0, DB, 0, , 0, 0, 0, 0,

ORLY?
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13603
I'm out for a couple hours, hope all have a great day. Lightening has come through the land phone line several times for me. Wild to see, and scary. Stay safe out there. Florida has more golf courses and more lightening hits than any other state; coincidence?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
For sure Yobi, just have been in emotional shell shock like never before since this happened. What's the old saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." No matter how incredibly bad it seems, I always try to remind myself that I still have it better than 90% of the people on the planet. Self pity is a disease in America that I don't want to catch. Life just really really sucks for all of us sometimes, and that's just how it is.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting kwgirl:
I think it is because of the porcelain bowl. Ever notice the resistors on electric poles are or were made of porcelain.
that is correct, porcelain is non-conductive.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40959
Quoting HurrMichaelOrl:


Woah, gusting to 57 mph...and Clearwater Beach is not even in the most intense, blue color.
amazing,, by me the tree's are swaying but not that bad, clearwater must be really getting it
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40959
Quoting LargoFl:
...................................right near me geez


Woah, gusting to 57 mph...and Clearwater Beach is not even in the most intense, blue color.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
.................a very dangerous day in central florida alright
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40959
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect

Extreme heat and high humidex in effect.



Observed at: Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Tuesday 17 July 2012
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 29.69 inches
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 15 miles
Air Quality Health Index: 5

Temperature: 97.2%
Dewpoint: 70.0%
Humidity: 42 %
Wind: W 17 gust 32 mph
Humidex: 112


That makes the weather around here "chilly".

Observed at:
Montreal-Trudeau Int'l Airport
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Tuesday 17 July 2012
Condition: Cloudy

Pressure: 29.55 inches
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 12 miles
Temperature: 84.9F
Dewpoint: 72.1F
Humidity: 66 %
Wind: SW 6 mph
Humidex: 102
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
617. yoboi
Quoting Tribucanes:
And for everyone who was here when I said I was going to do the case for creation blog; I had a huge personal disaster hours after posting that I was going to do it. One of the biggest in my entire life; and I'm old. I'm going to pray on it, but I'm taking it as a sign to not do my blog at this time. I am a man of my word, this was just a freak event, and the timing of it was bizarre to say the least. Hope you all are well, except you teenagers who are smart, athletic, and funny. Youth and their abilities makes me feel old. :)


could have also been a sign to make sure ya would do it......
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2396
Quoting spathy:


I know this sounds paranoid but also remember to not shower or wash your hands during a Fl thunderstorm.
Dont worry about using the restroom. Thats a broken stream and wont conduct.
I think it is because of the porcelain bowl. Ever notice the resistors on electric poles are or were made of porcelain.
Member Since: March 28, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1532
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


2006:



2012:



...Yeah...not seeing it.


I'm talking mostly in terms of El Nino and the way troughs have been stronger off the east coast like that year(that year even featured a major heat wave in the east).

I'm thinking the Burmuda ridge will be greatly weakened in the next several weeks.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
614. yoboi
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
Observed at: Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Tuesday 17 July 2012
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 29.69 inches
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 15 miles
Air Quality Health Index: 5

Temperature: 97.2°F
Dewpoint: 70.0°F
Humidity: 42 %
Wind: W 17 gust 32 mph
Humidex: 112


how hott it suppose to get there???
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2396
And for everyone who was here when I said I was going to do the case for creation blog; I had a huge personal disaster hours after posting that I was going to do it. One of the biggest in my entire life; and I'm old. I'm going to pray on it, but I'm taking it as a sign to not do my blog at this time. I am a man of my word, this was just a freak event, and the timing of it was bizarre to say the least. Hope you all are well, except you teenagers who are smart, athletic, and funny. Youth and their abilities makes me feel old. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
612. yoboi
Quoting spathy:


I know this sounds paranoid but also remember to not shower or wash your hands during a Fl thunderstorm.
Dont worry about using the restroom. Thats a broken stream and wont conduct.


not true people die all the time on toliet due to electric shock if ya have metal pipes good chance ya gettin a shock if ya have pvc not such a good chance...
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2396
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect

Extreme heat and high humidex in effect.



Observed at: Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Tuesday 17 July 2012
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 29.69 inches
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 15 miles
Air Quality Health Index: 5

Temperature: 97.2F
Dewpoint: 70.0F
Humidity: 42 %
Wind: W 17 gust 32 mph
Humidex: 112
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hydrus:
Last time I was in Fort Myers, it looked like Miami.


LOL. When I moved here in '82 Daniels Parkways as a 2 lane partly dirt road. It's now a six lane divided highway all the way to Lehigh Acres. Times change. BTW, you definately would not recognize Miami!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
...................................right near me geez
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40959
606. yoboi
Quoting CJ5:


The anti GW croud should parade this chart. When the trend was different earlier in the year it was a focus point for the pro GW crowd. Just saying.



what chart??
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2396
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40959
Quoting Articuno:

Whoa! Almost every spot in the country has a chance of rain or tstms
some area's really could use it too
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40959
Quoting spathy:


I know this sounds paranoid but also remember to not shower or wash your hands during a Fl thunderstorm.
Dont worry about using the restroom. Thats a broken stream and wont conduct.
..thats right too
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40959
Quoting ncstorm:

Whoa! Almost every spot in the country has a chance of rain or tstms
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting spathy:
There has to be some locally heavy rainfall totals in Florida over the past 48 hrs.
Any More Floridians got some more totals to share?


Hey spathy. Been dry as a bone in my area. .23 inches all month and none the last 4 days of June once Debby passed.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
12z CMC


Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16039
plse note: EXCESSIVE LIGHTNING.................................SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE JACKSONVILLE FL
119 PM EDT TUE JUL 17 2012

FLZ040-171800-
MARION-
119 PM EDT TUE JUL 17 2012

...A SIGNIFICANT WEATHER ADVISORY HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR SOUTHERN MARION
COUNTY FOR STRONG WINDS...SMALL HAIL AND EXCESSIVE LIGHTNING VALID
UNTIL 200 PM EDT...

AT 118 PM EDT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED SEVERAL
STRONG THUNDERSTORMS ACROSS SOUTHERN MARION COUNTY...SHOWING LITTLE
MOVEMENT. THE THUNDERSTORMS WILL AFFECT AREAS AROUND WEIRSDALE...
SILVER SPRINGS SHORES...OCKLAWAHA...MOSS BLUFF...LAKE WEIR...
SUMMERFIELD...SANTOS AND BELLEVIEW THROUGH 200 PM EDT. HAIL UP TO
THREE QUARTER INCH IN DIAMETER...EXCESSIVE CLOUD-TO-GROUND LIGHTNING
AND GUSTY WINDS OF 45 TO 55 MPH CAN BE EXPECTED ALONG WITH POSSIBLE
MINOR DAMAGE. VERY HEAVY RAINFALL IS LIKELY DUE TO VERY SLOW STORM
MOTION...THIS CAN RESULT IN MINOR FLOODING.

REPORT DAMAGE TO THE NEAREST LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY OR YOUR COUNTY
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT.

A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 800 PM EDT
TUESDAY EVENING FOR NORTHERN FLORIDA AND SOUTHEAST GEORGIA.

LAT...LON 2900 8238 2912 8240 2916 8164 2905 8164
2904 8165 2896 8166 2895 8231
TIME...MOT...LOC 1718Z 090DEG 1KT 2901 8201
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40959
Quoting weatherh98:


not really. in the relay i split a 31.14 50 back... oh and i went a 27.69 in the free.

kris has the state record... 101 for a 14 year old


chat?
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 9737
596. yoboi
Quoting Tribucanes:
Typically Georgia and Gulf states depend on landfall from TS and greater to reach average yearly rainfall. Landfall storms don't mean only disaster, they can be very beneficial. And of coarse we are more excited by Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf storms. They are potentially dangerous, impact is in many of our bloggers back yards, and they cause a frenzy of conversation about said storm. Hopefully no one roots for a horrible cane, but we don't choose where Mothernature sends em. It's okay to get excited about "The Big One", love the science and nature of the beast, hate what it does to the public.



yeah i was just asking....when was the last major to hiit the us??? wilma????
Member Since: August 25, 2010 Posts: 7 Comments: 2396
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16039
Quoting StormTracker2K:


Yeah over me:/ It is absolutely insane here right now. Lighting every second and blinding rain right now.
..whew, be careful out there,and stay away from the landline phones too, if i remember right a charge could travel thru the lines if a line is hit
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 40959

Viewing: 644 - 594

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.