Nation’s drought expands

Posted at 10:42 PM, Jul 29, 2012

While there have been localized areas of severe weather and intense rainfall over the past few months, the majority of the United States has been in the midst of a major drought.

A frequently stagnant weather pattern has allowed searing heat to affect the Plains & the Rockies, with rainfall well below normal levels.

During the summer, thanks to the angle of the sun, over one inch of water evaporates from the soil each week.  In some areas of the USA, it is closer to two inches a week.  When areas go a few weeks without significant, widespread rainfall, large rainfall deficits develop.

Here is an animation of the “drought monitor” from the past 12 weeks.  It shows areas of the country that are drier than normal, as well as areas in various stages of drought.  You can watch towards the end of the animation how the majority of the country is dry, and that very few spots in the country are in good shape.

Here is a more detailed map showing the extent of drought severity by state.  The majority of the nation’s farmland is covered by moderate to severe drought.