Nation

Report shows US drought rapidly intensifying

Corn plants struggled to survive on a drought-stricken field in Oakland City, Indiana, on July 24, 2012.
John Sommers II/REUTERS
Corn plants struggled to survive on a drought-stricken field in Oakland City, Indiana, on July 24, 2012.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A new report shows the drought in the nation’s midsection is rapidly intensifying and shows no signs of abating.

The US Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows the range of the drought in the continental US has increased only slightly in the past week.

But the severity is worsening. The report shows that the amount of US land classified in extreme or exceptional drought jumped to more than 20 percent, up 7 percent from last week.

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More than 63 percent of the continental US 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.