Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/170

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during droughts evaporation exceeds the supply, and the level falls below the mean. Alongside of these data are indicated the dates of the severe financial panics in the United States. The dates of these panics were taken from one of the current histories of the United States.

The table shows that the observations in the Ohio Valley began during a period when the rainfall exceeded the average amount. This lasted through 1832, after which a severe drought set in, lasting until 1840. The severe financial panic of 1837 occurred in the midst of this drought and about two years after the greatest deficiency of rainfall in the Ohio Valley. The rainfall statistics for New England show that there was also a very severe and protracted drought in the eastern states at that time, culminating in 1836 to 1837, when the annual rainfall was nearly nine inches below the normal. In 1841 began a period of excess in rainfall lasting until 1853, after which a period of drought set in, culminating in 1855 in the Mississippi Valley, and in 1856 in the Ohio Valley. This was followed by the severe financial panic of 1857. This was in turn followed by another period of excess in rainfall, lasting until 1860 in the Ohio Valley, and until 1863 in the Mississippi Valley, when another period of deficient rainfall set in with the greatest deficiency in 1863 and 1864. Any commercial effect attending this drought was overshadowed by the tremendous disturbances in the life of our country attending the civil war. Another period of excessive rainfall occurred between 1866 and 1869, followed by a severe drought which reached its maximum in the Ohio Valley and Mississippi Valley in 1871, and in the Lake Region in 1872. This was followed by the severe panic of 1873. This in turn was followed by another period of excessive rainfall which began in the Mississippi Valley in 1875, in the Lake Region in 1876 and in the Ohio Valley in 1879 and lasted until between 1884 and 1887. This was accompanied and followed by a period of unusual business activity and enterprise, especially in our western states. With 1887 began a long and severe drought, lasting nearly ten years and reaching its maximum severity in 1895. During this interval the United States was well covered by observing stations and permitted Professor Henry to make an investigation of the deficiency of rainfall for the entire United States. He says, in speaking of this interval, 1887 to 1896, "It appears beyond question that there has been a very general deficiency of rain in the great majority of the years and in almost all the districts. Moreover, there does not seem to be any law of compensation by which a deficit in one district is balanced by a surplus in another. The South Atlantic and Gulf States, in particular, show a marked deficit throughout almost the entire period." This drought was relieved in some sections about 1889 to 1891, as in the Ohio Valley, by an excess of rainfall for two or three years. In the midst of this drought