Did the drought of 1988 follow an extremely wet spring?

Dear Tom,

Did the drought of 1988 follow an extremely wet spring?

Annette Kavanaugh

Dear Annette,

It did not. The spring of 1988 was extremely dry and provided the antecedent conditions for the benchmark hot, drought summer that was to follow. Chicago’s three-month March-May meteorological spring precipitation total was just 5.42 inches, more than four inches below normal and the city’s 11th driest on record. Precipitation for the June-August meteorological summer period totaled just 7.08 inches, more than five inches below normal and the city’s 22nd driest. That summer, Chicago logged a record 47 days that topped 90 degrees that included a record seven days of triple-digit heat. Nationwide, nearly half of the Lower 48 was in a state of extreme drought, resulting in devastating crop losses and a staggering price tag estimated between 80 and 120 billion dollars.

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