Interactive Map Follows Timeline of U.S. Drought Conditions

| 7/30/2012 3:42:14 PM

Dead WheatHas your hometown or homestead been feeling unbearably hot and dry for the past few months? If so, you're not alone — according to National Public Radio (NPR), about 55 percent of the United States is experiencing the worst drought conditions seen since 1956, and 1,297 counties have been declared natural disaster areas. These kinds of dry conditions can cause crops and economies to suffer, and lead a lot of eyes to look skyward and eagerly watch for any sign of rain.

To further portray the level of drought the United States is experiencing, NPR posted an interactive map that allows viewers to follow the drought's parched path across the country, on a timeline that goes back to January 2011. The map shows drought categories ranging from "abnormally dry" to "exceptional drought.” You can allow the map to play out for you or choose a particular date's drought conditions to study — and, when you’re done, cross your fingers for the red areas to recede.

Ready for a rain dance, anyone?

Photo by Fotolia/Andrey Milkin 

Amanda Sorell is an Assistant Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine.

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