Southeastern U.S. hit hard after two months of less rain

Source: Jessica Estepa, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012

The drought continued to expand this week, with the largest increase found in the southeastern United States and Oklahoma.

The total land in the country ensnared by drought is more than 52 percent, an increase of nearly 2 percentage points since last week, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor released today. Nearly 17 percent of the country is in extreme drought or worse, up from 16 percent last week.

Regionally, drought expanded the most in the Southeast, where moderate drought or worse increased from last week’s 30 percent to 46 percent.

This is because of decreased rainfall in the past two months in northern Florida, southern Alabama, Georgia, and central parts of North Carolina and South Carolina, U.S. Drought Monitor author Eric Luebehusen said. The total rainfall in the region has been less than 50 percent of its average.

In Oklahoma, extreme drought increased from 72 percent to 90 percent, though other parts of the Plains showed small changes.