According to a new report released by the National Climatic Data Center today, the 2012 drought disaster is now the largest in over 50 years, and among the ten largest of the past century. Only the extraordinary droughts of the 1930s and 1950s have covered more land area than the current drought. 55 percent of the contiguous United States was under moderate to extreme drought in June.
Here in Indiana, some parts of the state had the driest month of June on record. Indianapolis had less than 1/1oth of an inch of rain during the month. Burn bans have been in place since Memorial Day and now cover the entire state, and many municipalities have now put watering bans in place.
Forecast for this week here: Most days in the mid-90′s with heat advisories, cooling off to the upper 80′s. There’s only a small chance for scattered showers on any given day.
Today the blower motor on our central air conditioning went out. It has run constantly for two months.
They say we need 4-6 inches of rain over a two-week period just to bring us back to our normal hot, dry summer conditions.
Drought does not make as spectacular an impact as hurricanes or tornadoes or some other natural disasters, but the 1988 drought ranks as the second most costly weather-related disaster since records began in 1980. It racked up an estimated $40 billion in losses and was surpassed only by Hurricane Katrina in costliness as a natural disaster.
Only 31 percent of the nation’s corn crop is rated good or better. Only 34 percent of the soybeans. Missouri, hit worst by the current drought, has only 7 percent of its corn good or better.
Farmers here have started abandoning their crop, cutting down the corn and grinding it up for silage.
It’s all a huge comedown for farmers who had expected a record year when they sowed 96.4 million acres in corn, the most since 1937.
An Associated Press article quotes southern Illinois farmer, Kenny Brummer, who has lost 800 acres of corn that he grows to feed his 400 head of cattle and 30,000 hogs. Now he’s scrambling to find hundreds of thousands of bushels of replacement feed. “Where am I going to get that from? You have concerns about it every morning when you wake up,” said Brummer, who farms near Waltonville. “The drought is bad, but that’s just half of the problem on this farm.”
Plan on paying higher prices for many, many food and other items as the year goes along. Some predict this year’s drought may make a $50 billion hit as effects of the drought work their way through the economy, with a real possibility that food prices will be forced to record levels.
Let’s not forget the poor and more vulnerable among us. Extremely hot, arid weather poses real hardships for homeless people who are elderly or disabled, struggle with alcohol or drug addiction, suffer from medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, or who take medications that cause sensitivity to the hot sun. Elderly people, folks with breathing difficulties, and children are especially susceptible to the heat and those caring for them should take special precautions to keep them cool and hydrated.
Look for opportunities to give a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name to someone who must work or spend a great deal of time outside in this weather.
Praying “Give us this day our daily bread” is taking on fresh meaning this year.
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O God, heavenly Father, who by thy Son Jesus Christ
hast promised to all those who seek thy kingdom and its
righteousness all things necessary to sustain their life: Send
us, we entreat thee, in this time of need, such moderate rain
and showers, that we may receive the fruits of the earth, to our
comfort and to thy honor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.