Over half of the U.S. is now experiencing moderate to extreme drought according to a recent report from the U.S. Drought Monitor. The last two times we experienced a 50 percent and over drought conditions were in the 1059’s and the 1930’s dust bowl event. Right now 56 percent of the country is in a drought, with almost 9 percent of the country facing severe conditions. Droughts are one of the most costly weather-related events in terms of economics and loss of life, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Between 1980 and today, 16 drought events cost $210 billion, according to a recent report. The monitor uses a ranking system that goes from D0 (abnormal dryness) to D1 (moderate drought), D2 (severe drought), D3 (extreme drought) and D4 (exceptional drought). At the lower end of the scale, moderate drought involves some damage to crops and pastures, and low water levels in streams, reservoirs or wells. Areas in exceptional drought would experience widespread crop and pasture losses and water shortages that lead to water emergencies. The Monitor’s report also predicted that with climate change there would be an increase in extreme weather events, including high temperatures, heat waves, heavy precipitation and drought.
Phot Credit: FSA