Droughts are nothing new to Wisconsin and the United States. In fact, nearly every year, at least one portion of the country experiences drought, whether it is moderate, severe, or extreme. Droughts are caused by a long period of little to no rainfall. They are quiet – no damaged buildings, uprooted trees, or twisted scraps of metal. So it may be surprising to know widespread droughts can cause as much damage as a powerful hurricane making landfall near a major coastal city.
As of early October 2012, no official dollar amount has yet been assigned to the 2012 drought. But a few experts around the country have come up with a ballpark figure after analyzing the impacts. Chris Hurt, an economist at Purdue University, was recently quoted in The Madison Courier suggesting the 2012 drought will cost $77 billion. If that is true, when adjusting for inflation, the drought of 2012 will cost nearly the same amount as the drought of 1988. Some economists argue it will cost more. Regardless, it is unbelievable to think how a long-term weather pattern like can put us in such a bad position.
Obviously, it is too late for farmers who hoped for a nice crop. But there is help available through the USDA’s Drought and Drought Assistance program. If you, or someone you know needs more information, please don’t hesitate to share this post.
A bit of good news: some decent rain is expected this weekend! (October 13 & 14) The forecast models have been consistent on bringing an area of low pressure through the middle U.S. and into the Great Lakes region. Rain totals could range from 1/4″ to 1″+, depending on how much moisture the low draws north from the Gulf of Mexico. This will certainly help our drought, but it will not eliminate it. We need frequent periods of rainfall and a nice snow cover this winter. Speaking of winter, a month ago, indications were El Niño would develop in the eastern Pacific, forcing our weather pattern into a drier and milder state during the upcoming season. El Niño has not yet formed, meaning we could see more of a “normal” winter in the area. Time will certainly provide all the answers. Much of our weather also depends on ocean osscilations.
Thanks for reading and keep visiting for more from Beyond the Forecast…
This post was written by Nick Grunseth on October 10, 2012