Thursday, July 19, 2012

How Does the Dust Bowl Measure Up to the Current Drought?

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about how the current drought is measuring up to the Dust Bowl. I decided to look at this for myself, and I found some interesting results.

This is the June map of the extent of the drought. As you can see, much of the Rockies are trapped in an extreme drought, with the Midwest and Ohio Valley also slipping into a deep drought. July has been more of the same, so this map is not as up to date as current conditions reflect, but we'll use it anyhow.

Now, let's take a glance at drought conditions from July 1934, in the deep of the Dust Bowl.

As you may notice immediately, the nation is much more in an extreme drought than that of June 2012. There are only 3 or 4 counties in the nation with above normal precipitation in the nation, with over half the nation in a severe to extreme drought.

In conclusion, the Dust Bowl was, and is still much drier than what we are seeing now. I feel that this was a case of overhyping media. While the current drought definitely is one for the record books, the Dust Bowl is nowhere near what we have now. Could it get worse? Definitely, but for now, we are in much better state than 1934.


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