US midwest drought worsens despite rains

Thursday, July 26, 2012
By Paul Martin

Guardian.co.uk
Thursday 26 July 2012

The most extensive drought in five decades intensified this week across the US midwest and plains states that produce most of the county’s corn, soybeans and livestock, a report from climate experts showed on Thursday.

Almost 30% of the nine-state midwest was suffering extreme drought, nearly triple from the previous week, according to the US drought monitor for the week ending 24 July.

Conditions in the midwest, which produces roughly three quarters of the corn and soybean crops in the world’s largest producer and exporter, worsened despite the first measurable rainfall in a month in some areas.

More than 53% of the United States and Puerto Rico are in moderate drought or worse, a record-large amount for the fourth straight week in the drought monitor’s 12-year history.

“The two-plus inches (of rain) from southern Wisconsin to northern Indiana was able to only maintain status quo. Most other areas were not as lucky,” said the drought monitor author Richard Heim of the National Climatic Data Centre.

“Pasture, rangeland, and crop condition continued to deteriorate from the Colorado high plains to the Ohio and mid-Mississippi valleys, and from Oklahoma to the Dakotas,” he said.

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