Drought and heat wave (1988), $45.4 billion in damage
1988’s drought completely struck a huge portion of the U.S., with extreme losses to agriculture and related industries, and the upper Midwest was especially hit. Eleven states made an official statement, declaring ALL their counties disaster areas.
The combined flow of the three biggest rivers in the lower 48 states, such as the Mississippi, St. Lawrence and Columbia – was 45 percent lower than the normal range in June, which marked the lowest flow in 60 years, according to a NOAA report. Combined direct and indirect deaths because of heat stress were largely estimated at 5,000. However, regional impacts of the drought lasted into 1999.