Worst U.S. drought in decades continues

The future?

The worst US drought in decades has deepened again after more than a month of encouraging reports of slowly improving conditions, a drought-tracking consortium said today, as scientists struggled for an explanation other than a simple lack of rain.

While more than half of the continental US has been in a drought since summer, rain storms had appeared to be easing the situation week by week since late September. But that promising run ended with today’s weekly US Drought Monitor report, which showed increases in the portion of the country in drought and the severity of it.

The report showed that 60.1 per cent of the lower 48 states were in some form of drought as of Tuesday, up from 58.8 per cent the previous week. The amount of land in extreme or exceptional drought the two worst classifications increased from 18.3 per cent to 19.04 per cent.

The Drought Monitor’s map tells the story, with dark red blotches covering the center of the nation and portions of Texas and the Southeast as an indication of where conditions are the most intense. Those areas are surrounded by others in lesser stages of drought, with only the Northwest, Florida and a narrow band from New England south to Mississippi escaping.

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