When was the last extreme drought prior to 2012? - KMSP-TV

When was the last extreme drought prior to 2012?

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(Courtesy of NOAA) (Courtesy of NOAA)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The U.S. Drought Monitor is released every Thursday morning at 7 a.m. You'll notice in last week's update, a small portion of central and north central Illinois were upgraded to extreme drought (D3) conditions. The last time extreme drought conditions existed in our area was from July 2005 until late January 2006.

Here in the Chicago area, drought conditions remain unchanged from the previous week thanks to significant rainfall in many spots. Above is a side-by-side comparison of the U.S. Drought Monitor map from July 26, 2005 and the July 24, 2012 map.

Notice that although a larger area in northern Illinois was included in extreme drought conditions around the same time in July in 2005, the percentage of the U.S. covered in drought conditions was dramatically less than 2012!

Incredibly, 64 percent of the country is in at least moderate (D1) drought conditions as of July 24, 2012, whereas in late July 2005, just under 30 percent of the country was experiencing at least moderate drought conditions.

Therefore, the 2005 drought, while significant in northern Illinois and northwest Indiana, was more of a regional event, whereas the 2012 drought is truly on a national scale.

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