Drought hits 56 percent of continental US; ‘significant toll’ on crops

The prolonged heat across the Midwest has not only set temperature records, it is also expanding and intensifying drought conditions — and relief isn’t on the horizon for most areas, the National Weather Service reported Thursday.

Drought conditions are present in 56 percent of the continental U.S., according to the weekly Drought Monitor.

That’s the most in the 12 years that the data have been compiled, toppingĀ the previous record of 55 percent set on Aug. 26, 2003. It’sĀ also up five percentage points from the previous week.

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