The current drought condition has many similarities with 1988. Here is the departure from normal precipitation for the Midwest from April 1 to July 2 for 2012 (left) and for 1988 (right).
Areas in green are doing well. Areas in blue are having to deal with flooding issues. Areas in yellow are dry, and areas in the darker shades of yellow, orange, and red are progressively drier.
This year the drought has missed parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, where all the Midwestern states suffered in 1988. So far this year, the hardest hit area is in southern Illinois, southwest Indiana, western Kentucky and southeastern Missouri with departures of 8 to 12 inches (dark orange and red areas) since April 1. In 1988, those same conditions were seen over a wider area including large parts of northern Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, western Kentucky, and eastern Ohio.