Midwest drought shows little sign of abating

Wednesday, July 18, 2012
By Paul Martin

By Ernest Scheyder

(Reuters) – Broiling heat blanketed much of the U.S. Midwest on Tuesday, exacerbating the region’s worst drought in more than 50 years and devastating corn, soy and other vital crops.

From Chicago to St. Louis to Omaha, Nebraska, temperatures eclipsed 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the National Weather Service (NWS) issued heat advisories across Midwest and mid-Atlantic states.

Many of the NWS heat advisories don’t expire until next week. Temperatures in Kansas City, Kansas for instance, are expected to hit 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) on Wednesday.

The current drought is the worst since 1956, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a report posted on its website.

In Iowa, Gov. Terry Branstad convened a hearing to discuss the drought and its effect on the state’s pork industry, which relies heavily on corn feed.

“It’s important that we do all we can to help people through this difficult time,” Branstad told local radio station KILJ. “And obviously more rain would help.”

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