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Severe to Exceptional Drought Grows in U.S.

Posted by feww on July 26, 2012

Nearly half of U.S. in ‘Severe’ to ‘Exceptional’ drought

‘Severe’ to ‘Exceptional’ drought conditions (D2 – D4) have increased to 45.57 percent in the lower 48 states, a rise of more than 3 percent since last week.

  • About two-thirds (63.86%) of the United States remains in moderate drought or worse.
  • During the 2012 crop year, USDA has designated 1,369 counties across 31 states as disaster areas—1,234 due to drought. The drought disaster declaration list also includes numerous other counties designated as contiguous disaster areas. [NOTE: There are 3,143 counties and county-equivalents in the U.S.]
  • Nearly a third of the Midwest is in extreme drought, about three time as much as previous week.
  • Central U.S. is the worst hit region with continued widespread intensification of drought.
  • ‘Extreme’ and ‘Exceptional’ drought levels (D3 – D4) prevail in 20.57 percent of the Contiguous 48, compared with 13.53 percent  a week earlier.
  • The areas experiencing ‘Exceptional’ drought level (d4) has more than doubled to 2.38 percent of the lower 48 since July 17 report.
  • Hawaii and Alaska have not reported any change in the drought conditions.


Drought Map for Continental U.S., July 24, 2012. (Released July 26, 2012)

“We’ve seen tremendous intensification of drought through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Arkansas, Kansas and Nebraska, and into part of Wyoming and South Dakota in the last week,” said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist and U.S. Drought Monitor author. “The amount of D3 developing  in the country has increased  quite a bit for each of the last several weeks.”

The current U.S. Drought Monitor shows that every state in the country had at least a small area shown as abnormally dry or worse. “It’s such a broad footprint,” Fuchs said.

“This drought is two-pronged,” he said. “Not only the dryness but the heat is playing a big and important role. Even areas that have picked up rain are still suffering because of the heat.”


Drought Comparison Maps for
Continental U.S.,  July 17 – 24, 2012. (Released July 26, 2012)


Comparison Maps for July 10 and July 17, 2012.


U.S. Drought Comparison Maps for July 3 and July 10, 2012.


U.S. Drought Comparison Maps for June 26 and July 3, 2012


Dryness and drought, exacerbated by above-normal temperatures, have been increasing both in extent and intensity across much of the central and northern U.S.  Source: NOAA/ NWS/ NCEP/ Climate Prediction Center

 Related Posts – Latest

Drought Disaster – Recent

Other Global Disasters/ Significant Events

  • Beijing, China. Death toll from Saturday’s extreme rain event in Beijing has climbed to at least 77, the Beijing municipal government said Thursday.

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