U.S. drought worsens; Southeast Missouri continues improvement

Thursday, November 22, 2012

ST. LOUIS -- A new report shows that the nation's worst drought in decades is getting worse again, ending an encouraging five-week run of improving conditions.

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report shows that 60.1 percent of the continental U.S. was in some form of drought as of Tuesday. That's up from 58.8 percent the previous week.

But Southeast Missouri continued the steady improvement of recent weeks. The entire area is now in the two lowest drought classifications -- moderate and abnormally dry. At the height of the drought this summer the entire area was in the two worst categories.

The portion of the lower forty-eight states in extreme or exceptional drought -- the two worst classifications -- also rose, to 19.04 percent from last week's 18.3 percent.

The stubbornly dry conditions intensified in Kansas, the top U.S. producer of winter wheat. The latest update shows that while 77.5 percent of that state remains in extreme or exceptional drought, the amount of land in the most-dire classification rose nearly 4 percentage points to 34.5 percent.

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