Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version


Document Type



2012 NIDIS


(http://drought.unl.edu/Portals/0/docs/CentralUSDroughtAssessment2012. pdf ) or the National Integrated Drought Information System site (http:// www.drought.gov/drought/content/resources/reports).


Conditions leading into 2012 gave scant indication of what was to come for a 15-state region in the central United States, extending from Colorado, Wyoming, and North Dakota on the west to Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan on the east.

The drought of 2012 was the first since 1988 that impacted almost the entire Corn Belt. It intensified quickly, catching many by surprise.

We hope to learn from this event to help better plan and prepare for the next drought. The full central U.S. 2012 drought assessment, “From too much to too little,” aims to identify the events of 2012 and how they impacted the region, how the drought progressed, and how the states responded.

A summary of the year:

The winter season of 2011-2012 was strongly influenced by a positive Arctic Oscillation, which correlates with warm winter conditions. Temperatures in January ranked among the top 25 percent of years on record dating to 1895.

Precipitation was a mixed bag from month to month, with winter totals running the lowest along the Canadian border and increasing for some of the states farther to the south. Snow totals ranked as the lowest in more than 20 years in the contiguous U.S.

The season wrapped up with much warmer than normal temperatures extending across almost the entire region.