July 17, 2012
U.S. Drought Biggest Since 1956, Climate Agency Says. In its monthly climate report for June 2012 the National Climate Data Center says that 55% of the contiguous United States was in a state of moderate to extreme short-term drought, the largest area in a drought state since 1956. The Lower 48 states, as a whole, experienced the 10th driest June on record, with much of the Mountain West in severe drought conditions. Temperatures were 2.0°F above the 20th century average for the month of June and contributed to the warmest first half of the year, as well as warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since record keeping began in 1895. In addition to extensive wildfires, drought conditions have caused major harm to crop yields across the Midwest which threaten to impact global food supplies and increase prices for consumers.