I live in one of the "exceptional" areas - so this is hitting home.
The 2012 drought disaster is rapidly worsening in severity, especially over the nation's agricultural heartland, according to the latest weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report, released Thursday.While the area covered by the overall drought grew only slightly, the intensity increased alarmingly.
Nationally, the percentage of the country in "extreme" to "exceptional" drought – the two worst categories on the scale – jumped from 13.53% to 20.57%. In other words, another 219,000 square miles was added to the area in extreme drought – an area slightly larger than the states of California and New York combined.
All percentage figures refer to the contiguous 48 states:
- The percentage of the country in "severe" drought (level 2) or worse set a new 21st-century high for the second straight week, rising from 42.23% last week to 45.57% this week.
- The percentage of country in "exceptional" drought climbed from 0.99% last week to 2.38% this week – a considerable jump, but still well below the levels in the 2011 Southern Plains drought.