Tuesday July 17, 2012

Sixth largest drought on record

9:30P.M. Tuesday July 17, 2012

Today's high peaked at 95 degrees in Poughkeepsie, with a heat index of 98. A heat advisory had been in effect from 3PM until 8PM.

The warm weather will subside beginning tomorrow with the passage of a cold front. The front will approach our area around mid day, but will likely set off thunderstorms. The national weather service is currently calling for a 70% chance of severe thunderstorms for mos of the day tomorrow, with the best chance during the early afternoon. Although temperatures will only make it up to 89, it will stil take another day to relieve the heat indexes. Heat indexes will approach 94 tomorrow. Any thunderstorms that do develop will likely relieve the high temperatures, however.

High temperatures will fall into the mid 70's by Friday, but will rebound to the 80's for the weekend.

The Nation is currently experiencing its sixth largest drought on record.

Over the past several weeks, dry conditions that were initially present over the southern US have spread across nearly the entire continental US. According to last weeks drought report, the only states in the entire US not experiencing any region of "abnormally dry" were Maine and New Hampshire. The rest of New England the mid-Atlantic states are experiencing Abnormally dry conditions.

Further to our south and east, severe to extreme drought conditions have begun to develop across the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys, as well as from Alabama into the Carolinas. A third foci of the drought exists to the west of the Mississippi River with at least severe drought conditions encompassing the entire region from the Dakotas, to Missouri, to Texas, to California, to Montana and Wyoming. Colorado is at the epicenter of this region where exceptional drought conditions have fueled its two most costly wildfires on record in the past week or so. Exceptional drought conditions also exist across much of central Georgia. Extreme drought conditions are present on the western tip of Hawaii's big island.

According to NOAA's June report released yesterday, 56% of the nation was experiencing at least moderate drought conditions, and 33% was experiencing at least severe drought conditions. These figures indicate that the current drought is the 6th most expansive on record, and that the last time a drought of this magnitude was recorded was in 1956. When going by the "severe" area of 33% of the US, the current drought ranks as the 10th most expansive.

As of July 10th, moderate drought covered 61% of the US and severe drought covered over 37%. Much of the drought has been fueled by a series of record heatwaves over the past several months. The latest having been the phenomenal heatwave two weeks ago, in which triple digit temperatures were recorded from Montana and the Rockies to the mid Atlantic and southern states. The drought will likely continue to expand this month with exceptionally warm weather likely to remain locked in place over the heart of the country. The on going heatwaves that have been associated with the drought has killed nearly 100 people thus far. The drought/heat of 2012 may potentially become a multi-billion weather disaster by the time all is said and done.

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