Drought Disaster 2012 Status
Aug 16, 2012
The drought disaster in the nation’s Heartland continues to worsen, despite pockets of recent rainfall over the past week, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday morning.
Overall, the total areal extent of the Lower 48 States in drought ticked downward to just under 62%. However, the area in the worst drought category, so-called “exceptional” drought, ramped up to over 6% of the Lower 48 States.
This may not sound impressive, however, put together, this area of “worst drought” covers an area (195,304 sq. mi.) larger than the state of California (163,695 sq. mi.).
In the relatively short period of the Drought Monitor analysis (since 2000), only last summer’s drought featured an areal extent of “exceptional” drought larger than what is in place this summer, peaking out at just under 12% of the Lower 48 States in mid-July 2011.