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More than half of the country was under moderate to extreme drought in June, the largest area of the contiguous United States affected by such dryness in nearly 60 years. Nearly 1,300 counties across 29 states have been declared federal disaster areas. Areas under moderate to extreme drought in June of each year are shown in orange below.
“The drought that has settled over more than half of the continental United States this summer is the most widespread in more than half a century,” and as the New York Times points out “is likely to grow worse.” However, a glance at the last 112 years’ June ‘drought’ conditions does not suggest this is a systemic trend (a la global warming) – with notably drier/hotter periods in the past – but we do note some interesting analogs as drought conditions as epic as the current one evolve and fade: from 1936-1938 the Dow fell almost 50%; from 1955-1957 the Dow fell over 18% (11% p.a.); and 1987 of course saw a 40% plunge. “It’s got the potential to be the worst drought we’ve ever had in Arkansas,” said Butch Calhoun, the state’s secretary of agriculture. “It’s going to be very detrimental to our economy.”