Drought expanding rapidly, now covers 63% of U.S.
Despite the struggles facing the brutal wrath of Mother Nature, the conditions are still a far cry from the height of the Dust Bowl in July 1934 when 80 percent of the country was in drought conditions.
click image to zoomUSA Today The graphic at right shows that vast differences between the two years, further stifling rumors of the 2012 Midwest drought turning into a repeat of the Dust Bowl. Click the graphic to see the animation.
Instead, Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center, suggests instead comparing the current drought with that of 1988.
“Right now the year this matches up best with is 1988,” Fuchs told The Weather Channel. “That was the last real significant drought that hit the Corn Belt as significantly as this one.”
Fuchs also noted that while each state has different moisture deficits, most areas are needing 16 to 18 inches to make up for the lost rainfall.
“We just don’t make those up overnight,” Fuchs said.
In the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, the forecast for drought conditions through October 31 has no positive outlook for the Midwest. The vast majority of these key corn and soybean growing states are expected to remain in a persistent drought.