Lighthearted weather stories are quick becoming a thing of the past. Extreme weather in the form of drought and heat dominated the United States in the first half of 2007, according to a report issued this morning by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The dry conditions also killed crops and triggered local drought emergencies, spelling more trouble for parched areas in the western United States.
But the Plains states suffered most from moody weather, with droughts followed by heavy rain that flooded areas from Texas to Kansas. In the Southeast, meanwhile, NOAA recorded the second-driest January to June period on record, and the driest-ever April to June in the Southeast. Worldwide, the year to date is the second-warmest on record, which could spell increasing trouble for water-stressed nations.
A recent United Nations report warned that as many as 250 million Africans will face water shortages within 15 years. Perhaps most ominously, the South Pole experienced the warmest June on record.