July 13, CNN – (National) Drought stretches across America, threatens crops.
A severe drought is spreading across the Midwest, resulting in some of the worst conditions in decades and leaving more than 1,000 counties designated as natural disaster areas, authorities said, CNN reported July 13. Farmers in the region are suffering, with pastures for livestock and fields of crops becoming increasingly parched during June, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Many areas in the southern Midwest are reporting the poorest conditions for June since 1988. As of July 10, about 61 percent of the contiguous United States (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico) was experiencing drought, the highest percentage in the 12-year record of the U.S. Drought Monitor. Unusually high temperatures and little rainfall have led to “widespread deterioration and expansion of dryness and drought” in the Midwest, northwestern Ohio Valley, and southern Great Plains, the drought monitor said. That has left 1,016 counties in 26 States termed as natural disaster areas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the week of July 9. A county is generally qualified as a natural disaster area if it has suffered severe drought for 8 consecutive weeks. The past 12 months have been the warmest the United States has experienced since records began in 1895, the climatic data center said.