Worldwide Drought of 2005-06

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The Worldwide Drought of 2005-06 was a severe drougtht affecting the central and eastern United States, Europe and Horn of Africa. In its beginning, the drought was two separate droughts that merged into one drought which impacted at least fifteen continents. As of March 2026, the drought has caused severe flood shortages in east Africa and threat of wildfires in the Central and Eastern United States and abnormally dry condtions in Australia and Europe. Many sciencetists believe that either La Nina or Global Warming is the cause of the worldwide drought.


The origin of the drought dates back to December 2005 when there was lack of rainfall across the central United States and eastern Africa. By January 2006, much of East Africa, Midwestern United States and Central Europe was hard hit by food and water shortages. In March 2006, the U.S. OCTIE WAS HERE part of the drought moved eastward affecting the East Coast of the United States with abnormally dry or severe drought conditions which forced state and local officals to issue red flag warnings in as far north as New England due to the threat of wildfires. [1]


As of March 2006, 38 people died in the drought (seven in the United States and 30 in east Africa) and there was over $1 billion dollars (2006 USD) in damage from food and water shortages, wildfires, etc. Between 40-50 million people were affected by the drought. Drought conditions also affected the Caribbean , central Europe and Asia.

The U.S. drought on December 31, 2005 which was the beginning of a larger drought that lasted into 2006 and affected other countries

United States[edit]

The United States was one of the countries hard hit by the 2005-06 Drought as dry conditions caused extensive water restrictions and caused an outbreak of wildfires in the Great Plains and in Virginia about seven people were killed by the drought (mainly by wildfires) and there was an estimated $1 billion dollars (2006 USD) in damage. Since December 2005, 36 percent of the United States was affected by the drought.


Already seen a dry winter in 112 years, the state of New Mexico was declared under a drought condition by Governor Bill Richardson on March 15. The dry condtions also forced local officals to issue moderate water and fire restrictions. [2] The drought also caused several wildfires that burned over 100,000 acres as of March 21. [3] In Arizona, extreme drought conditions produced the 11th driest winter in that states history which affected tourism, water supplies and livestock. [4]


Main Article: Texas-Oklahoma wildfires of 2005-06

Texas and Oklahoma were the hardest hit U.S. states during the 2005-06 drought as lack of rainfall produced drought condtions never seen since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. In Texas, the drought forced water management officals to issue severe water restrictions and there was a sigifigant impact to livestock. [1]

In addition to the severe dry conditions, the drought caused an outbreak of wildfires that began on December 31,2005 in Texas and Oklahoma which killed seven people , burned over a million acres and left millions in damage by January 1, 2006. [5]

Elsewhere firefighters In Iowa and Nebraska battled another brushfire which burned near a casino and did no damage. [6] Severe and moderate drought conditons were also reported in Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Ohio Valley states. The dry weathaer sigifianly affected the duck and deer hunting season in the Midwest. [7]


Virginia didn't see the full fury of the drought until March 2006 when the deficit fell to 1.8 inches below normal which made it the driest March in Virginia history. 80 locales in Virginia declaired a state of emergancy and ground water levels were below normal. [8] In late March, dry conditons and high winds caused several outbreaks of brush fires, the first was reported in the Blue Ridge Mountians which was quickly contained. [9] Later on the same day, another brush fire was reported in northern Virginia where it damaged a house , closed several roads and shut down a rail line. [10] On March 15, wild fires were reported in York, Suffolk and Glouster counties forcing authories to issure a ban on outdoor burning and redflag alerts for the entire state. [11] The final report of brush fire occurred on March 27 when a pile of derbis caught fire and forced the evcuation of six homes. [12] Recent rain showers in April help lax the dry conditions , however the state is still in drought condition.[13]

North Carolina[edit]

North Carolina suffered the worst of the drought on the east coast as every county in the state was abnormaly dry or in a severe drought when the deficit fell below 4 1/2 inches below normal.[14] The drought also caused an outbreak of brush fires across North Carolina which totaled to 1,500 by the end of March. The fires did moderate damage and there were no reports of injuries or deaths. [15]


Moderate drought conditons were declaired across southern Maryland while the rest of Maryland remained abnormally dry. Since February 2006, the state received only 0.18 inches of rain. [16] The dry weather also caused about 300 reported brush fires.[17]

Mid Atlantic[edit]

In Deleware, dry conditions threatneed crops and caused scattered reports of brushfires. [18] Elsewhere, disater loans were given to small farms and businesses in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. [19]


Main articles: 2006 Horn of Africa food crisis, 2005-06 Niger food crisis

Western and Eastern Africa were also hard hit by the drought that left 30-100 people dead and caused a humantarian crisis since early 2006. About 21 people in Africa were affected by the food shortages caused by the drought and prolonged conflicts in both regions and the United States and other countries had poured 215-300 million dollars in humantarian aid and supplies. The drought also disrupted animal migration in the serengetti plain [20] and also hampered relief efforts in Sudan and Chad.


Many countries in Europe reported unusually dry conditions during the 2005-06 winter. In Great Britian, there were severe water restrictions that affected 3.7 million people. Similar drought conditons were also reported in France, Denmark and the Netherlands. Portugal and Spain were hardest hit as the drought damaged much of the crop and livestock and heighened the threat of forest fires. [21]


Australia exeprienced abnormally dry condtions in a three month period most of it in Queensland where the region experined dry conditions. [22]


The Canadian providence of Alberta reported temperatures above normal and dry conditions in December 2005 which put the providence under a drought alert which remained through March 2006[23]


In Timor Leste, lack of rainfall and poor infrastructure caused isolated food shortages and sififangly impacted crops. Drought conditions a also caused food shortages in East Timor and Mongolia.[24]

See also[edit]