This summer, everyone’s attention has turned to the severe drought, which now covers 63 percent of the U.S. But last year, the story was all about freak rainstorms that dumped water up to 600 percent over normal levels in some areas, swelling the Missouri River and wiping out farmland.
So today, some farmers in the Missouri River Valley aren’t just dealing with drought. They’re now dealing with piles of sand — in some cases 3-4 feet deep — covering their fields after the flood waters receded. These farmers are looking at tens of millions of dollars in damages.
It’s another example of the one-two punch that extreme weather brings. As the atmosphere warms due to accumulating greenhouse gases, it holds more water vapor. Therefore, when storms come, the rain is stronger. But in drought conditions, the impacts can be exacerbated by higher evaporation rates.
So we set the stage for more problems like this: