While the last severe drought in the U.S. was in 1988 it did not last very long. Brownfield meteorologist Greg Soulje says, “It was relatively short lasting but very intense, and, like this one, was accompanied by intense heat, modest amounts of humidity.”
Soulje says the 1988 drought lasted four to six months. He says, depending on a number of factors, the current drought could end up lasting a total of 18 months and it is broader and more far-reaching than 24 years ago.
But, unlike now, Soulje says, wet weather was completely absent in ’88.
“Back in 1988,” he says, “There were far less organized wet weather systems. They were confined to the southern Canadian Prairie and the Northern Great Lakes Region and the entire Plains and Midwest was left high and dry. This one is a little bit different. That could be the effects of El Nino keeping some sense of moisture in the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest, far northern and far Eastern Corn Belt here at least over the next few weeks.”
A continued weak El Nino weather pattern, Soulje says, would likely mean an extended drought through this coming fall and winter in much of the Corn Belt impacting 2013 spring planting.