The Drought of 2012

By: Andrew McCawley Email
By: Andrew McCawley Email

The drought of 2012 has hit all of the United States hard, and over the last 2 months it's tightened it's grip on Western Wisconsin. Below is a map of the drought status from September 25, 2012. This map is created by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The map shows that the severe drought has taken over 35% of the state, and within the last week has moved into most of Eau Claire and La Crosse counties, along with parts of Dunn, Chippewa, Clark, and other Western Wisconsin counties. Extreme drought is now over 8% of the state. That is mainly in southern Wisconsin where the drought has been the worst, but now also into parts of Jackson, Monroe, and Juneau.

And we aren't the only state feeling the effects of the drought. Here is a map of the drought across the Midwest.

There are 9 states in this region, and 41% of the area in those state is in the severe category of drought.

Across the nation, much of the same and the drought is the worst across the Central Plains. This is the national map.

One of the major aspects of this drought is just how dry it has left the topsoil. The map below, from the Joint Agricultural Weather Facility of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows current topsoil conditions.

78% of Wisconsin is in the short to very short category.

The next map shows the soil moisture percentile. Much of the state is in an astonishing 0-10% of normal soil moisture.

Now we turn to what we can expect going forward. This last map, from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), shows that the drought is likely to get worse for much of the country.

The areas shaded in brown, which is much of the country and the majority of Wisconsin, is where the drought is likely to persist or even worsen. Not good news for farmers and the rest of us, as this will no doubt have a huge impact on prices at the pump and grocery store going forward.

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