Drought continues to expand across key U.S. farming states

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The United States continues to experience one of the worst droughts to hit the country in recent decades. According to a report issued by state and federal climatology experts, drought continues to expand through several key farming states with the central U.S.

Reuters examined the Drought Monitor report, and notes that drought conditions were most pervasive in the Plains states, including in top wheat producer Kansas. Fully 100 percent of Kansas was in at least “severe” drought as of Tuesday, up from 99.34 percent a week earlier. Meanwhile, 78 percent remained in at least “extreme drought,” the second-worst level of drought.

Reuters also notes the following, based on the report:

Conditions in Nebraska were unchanged, with 96.15 percent of the state in extreme drought, while the situation worsened in Oklahoma, where the percentage of the state in at least extreme drought increased to 90.92 percent from 90.56 percent a week earlier.

Texas drought conditions also worsened over the last week, with more than 32 percent of the state in at least extreme drought, up from 27.40 percent a week earlier, and more than 65 percent in at least severe drought, up from 59.27 percent, the Drought Monitor report said.

Overall, roughly 61.87 percent of the contiguous United States was in at least “moderate” drought, a slight improvement from 62.37 percent a week earlier.

The portion of the contiguous United States under at least “severe” drought expanded, however, to 42.59 percent from 42.22 percent.

Parts of the U.S. could get some much-needed rain this weekend. Forecasters say a storm is currently developing, and could reach the western Corn Belt by Saturday and the Great Lakes region on Sunday.

Reuters reports that storm-total precipitation could reach 1 to 2 inches in the mountains of the Southwest, but only light rain will fall on the central and southern Plains.

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