Report shows U.S. drought rapidly intensifying
By JIM SUHR Associated Press July 26, 2012 1:24PM
TO WITH AFP STORY BY MIRA OBERMAN Farmers Doug Thanepohn holds an ear of corn in his drought-ridden cornfield 21 July, 2005 in Newark, IL. Doug having farmed the same family fields for over 30 years has never seen his corn suffer from the lack of rain as he has this season, with less than one inch (2.54 centimeters) over the past six weeks. Their corn should stand any wares between 7 to 8 feet (2.1336 meters to 2.4384 meters) tall at this point in the season. Drought conditions have spread across the central United States and parts of the northwest. Much of the midwestern cornbelt has seen just half the average rainfall while parts of Illinois are now facing a severe drought after having received only a third of the average rainfall. If US corn output drops substantially, global prices could jump. The United States produces 40 percent of the world's corn and exported 5.8 billion dollars worth in 2004. Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea and Egypt are the United States's largest customers. AFP PHOTO/JEFF HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
Updated: July 29, 2012 10:41AM
A new report shows the drought in the nation’s midsection is rapidly intensifying and shows no signs of abating.
The U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows the range of the drought in the continental U.S. has increased only slightly in the past week.
But the severity is worsening. The report shows that the amount of U.S. land classified in extreme or exceptional drought jumped to more than 20 percent, up 7 percent from last week.
More than 63 percent of the continental U.S. is in some stage of drought, a portion unseen since the Drought Monitor started 1999.
Illinois is one of the hardest hit states. It saw its percentage of land in extreme or exceptional drought balloon from 8 percent last week to roughly 71 percent this week.