The Midwest Flash Drought Gets Worse

The intensive drought has become more intense, nowhere more than in Illinois—in the span of a week, most of the state went from severe drought to extreme drought, the worst decline in the 12 years the USDA has been using its current monitoring system.

The latest results from the USDA’s drought monitor are in, fresh through Tuesday of this week, and it indicates a dramatic worsening of the flash drought—particularly in Illinois.

drought monitor flash drought

The situation in far southern Illinois hasn’t gotten any worse, but in the space of a week, July 17-24 most of the state went from severe to extreme drought. It’s considered a “flash drought” because it’s unusual for drought to increase this quickly, and in the (admittedly brief) span of the USDA’s data, it’s unprecedented:

The jump “this week was the largest since we started the U.S. Drought Monitor” in 2000, Brian Fuchs, a climatologist and Drought Monitor author, told NBC News. “This is really showing the rapid intensification of the drought due to the heat/dryness over the region with little relief for anyone.”

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