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weather extremes
I'm not sure how we can prepare for the reality of this continuing drought. The effects are becoming more severe and I wonder how things will go if it continues. Mostly, it will just come down to money -- more money for food, utilities and all kinds of goods.

Over on Neven's blog, many of the scientists and well-read and educated amateurs are worried about the current state of the arctic. Most expect a new low for arctic ice this autumn, and believe we are on the cusp of the transition to an ice-free arctic -- about 50 years earlier than the most radical estimates of only five years ago.

Homeowners in the midwest are battling cracking foundations. "Homeowners are learning that when soil dries up, it shrinks -- so foundations shift, twisting and cracking the houses on top of them... The cost is not usually covered by insurance, because the damage is blamed on an "act of God." ... (Minnesota) Builders have assumed that the ground around foundations would not shift because the soil moisture is relatively stable."
full article here.

Power generation accounts for almost 50% of the US' water usage. Kansas City Water office director Tracy Streeter "expected the reservoirs could meet the needs of downriver (of Topeka, KS) communities through 2013 without hitting levels that would trigger conservation efforts, but cities and industries could decide to take voluntary measures before then — assuming Kansas continues to remain in drought as the Drought Monitor predicts." article here

Drought has so lowered the level of the Mississippi that barges must carry much less load, increasing the cost of shipping. article here

Of course, the drought is having a huge impact on food production: winter wheat is shriveling, and now that we've gone through the glut of meat from last year's drought-induced slaughter, the cost of meat will be going up. Last week, there was a little sign on the spot where I usually buy my greens, saying that supplies were down due to "poor weather." I plan to grow as much of my veggies as I can this summer, but with the continuing drought, everyone is going to be paying more for fresh food.

Here in the US, the summer of 2013 is expected to be even hotter and drier than the the summer of 2012.

I'm not very well versed on how an economy works. But it makes sense to me that if it costs more for food and shelter, there'll be less spent on things like new shoes, refrigerators and eating out. Which means that companies won't hire as many people and so more people will be out of work.

The thing is, I don't really see an end to this. It's going to get much worse. And it's going to get much worse a heck of a lot faster than just about anyone thinks that it will.

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