1988 U.S. Drought/Heatwave

1988 U.S. Drought/Heatwave

The drought of 1988 was widespread throughout the agricultural regions of the United States and Canada and had significant impacts on agricultural production, forestry, natural ecosystems, and water availability. The potential serious effects of the developing drought initiated a number of federal government responses (The Drought of 1988 and Beyond). Combined direct and indirect deaths (i.e., excess mortality) due to heat stress estimated at 5,000. — NOAA: Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters

Date of event: June-August 1988


  • CPI-Adjusted Estimated Cost: $42.4 billion
  • Deaths: 454

Related Resources:

HSDL Search: Severe Drought

Photo: Map of drought conditions in the contiguous U.S. in August 1988 (NOAA)

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