RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - A new national map from Climate Central shows the U.S. drought progression from early March until July 19, 2012. This animation was just released Thursday when the latest Drought Monitor information came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The Climate Central report released with the drought animation above explains what Climate Central scientist Andrew Freedman is dubbing a "Flash Drought Explained in 14 Seconds."
Freedman writes, "As of July 19, about 80 percent of the U.S. was experiencing some form of drought conditions. This was a stunning reversal of fortune from just a few months earlier, when it looked like corn growers were going to have an historically large harvest and drought was limited to the southern tier of the country. Scientists trace the drought's origins to a combination of factors, ranging from La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean, which tend to favor drought in the U.S., to a very mild winter that left little snowpack to help keep soils moist in the spring. Massive heat waves brought blistering heat during March, June and July, turbocharging the process of evaporating water out of soils and plants, and leading to what meteorologists call a 'flash drought.' Rather than develop gradually, as is more typical with drought conditions, this drought came on with stunning swiftness.
Climate outlooks for the August through October period call for above average temperatures and below average precipitation to persist across parts of the drought region, particularly the Midwest, which has been particularly hard-hit so far."
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CLICK HERE for more on this year's historic U.S. drought.