More than half of U.S. still parched

Source: Jessica Estepa, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012

Areas afflicted by the U.S. drought slightly shrank this week, yet more than half the country remains parched.

The U.S. Drought Monitor today said 51.8 percent of the country is in drought, down from last week’s 52.2 percent. Areas affected by severe and extreme drought inched upward, though the percentage of the country in exceptional drought remained the same.

Rainfall eased the drought in some areas, including in the southern Atlantic region. In parts of Kentucky, Tennessee and southern Ohio, heavier precipitation helped dryness and drought retract.

While heavy rain helped the Texas coastline, most of the Great Plains received little or no precipitation.

This continued dryness has led to 64 percent of crops being in poor or very poor condition in South Dakota, and 40 to 45 percent of crops are in poor or very poor condition in Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.