Dry and hot indeed – all over the Great Plains region.
A warm and dry winter, followed by a hot dry spring and summer… Temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for weeks at a time… Wildflowers blooming two to three weeks earlier than normal, and often for much shorter periods than typical… Other plants withering and/or going dormant before they get a chance to bloom.
Sound familiar? It’s a good description of the conditions across much of the central United States in 2012. However, it’s also a description of eastern Nebraska back in 1934. The famous prairie biologist, J.E. Weaver and two colleagues published a 1935 paper detailing the response of prairie plants to the “great drought of 1934”, in which they describe the weather conditions and plant community responses in prairies near Lincoln. The similarities between the drought of 1934 and 2012 are pretty strong. The main difference is that much of Nebraska actually had fairly wet conditions during the spring and summer of 2011…
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