Thirty-two years ago today, the high was 57 degrees and it had rained on and off for three days. This would be the coolest day that May. The 0.87" of rain that weekend would be the heaviest until mid August. Many rural road ditches were full of dust that had accumulated during frequent spring dust storms. April of 1988 remains the driest on record and June of 1988 is still the warmest. It was 106 degrees in July and 104 in August.
The drought of 1988 and 1989 was not as long-lasting as the 1930s Dust Bowl, but it gave us an inkling of what life in our region is like during a severe drought. During the 1990s, average annual rainfall increased by almost 20 percent over the Twentieth Century average and our agricultural and municipal systems have grown used to the extra water. The next severe drought, whenever it occurs, will be a challenge to these systems.