SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — This summer's drought is shaping up to be the costliest in more than two decades. Experts estimate a $12 billion tab; 55% of the nation is now under drought conditions. But it's not all doom and gloom.
Farmers and ranchers are suffering, restaurants that serve their meat and produce are suffering, but some businesses are booming and they have the heat to thank.
It's cool, it's dark, yet ironically The Moxie is the hot, bright spot in an otherwise stagnant summer.
Film student Kayla Gibsen has seen-- get this-- close to 60 in the theaters just this summer; her mom has accompanied her to about half. They're seeing one Tuesday evening at The Moxie.
"We find everything we can do inside," the pair explain.
Okay, the Gibsens may take movie-going to the extreme, but they're part of a trend at The Moxie, Springfield's artsy independent theater.
"Definitely in the beginning of July we started seeing a pickup relative to what we have been over the past seven years. Summers are usually pretty flat, and we've definitely seen a big increase in July," explains manager Mike Stevens who estimates a 25% increase in crowds, especially at the weekend matinees.
"3 o'clock show, 5 o'clock show," he tells us.
The heat may actually be responsible for diversifying The Moxie's crowd. Typically the same kind of people come to see movies here, but suddenly the theater has new curb appeal. People who have never been in the building before are venturing in to see a film and and escape the heat.
"They come in with questions, want to make sure they're in the right place because nobody is in a ticket booth, nobody is wearing a vest, so that's always how we can tell," says Stevens with a laugh.
The Gibsens certainly aren't newbies, but triple digit temperatures have made them devotees of The Moxie-- and the mall.
"Shopping, yeah, we've done a lot of shopping," they agree.
Here's the drought by numbers: the dust bowl of the 1930s is still the worst on record. In 1934 80% of the nation was experiencing drought conditions. The drought of 1988 was the most costly at $40 billion. Eight years earlier in 1980 there was a drought that cost $20 billion.