NPR

Drought's Still Deep In Nation's Midsection

The week of Aug. 21. (National Drought Mitigation Center)

Though there were "a few notable improvements" in places such as Indiana, where beneficial rains fell, the deep drought that has dug in across much of the nation's midsection continued in the past week, according to the statisticians at the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Their maps from the past three weeks tell the story.

Overall, an estimated 77.28 percent of the contiguous U.S. was suffering from through conditions ranging from "abnormally dry" to "exceptional drought." That was little changed from the previous week.

Key differences in the ratings from the National Drought Mitigation Center:

-- Abnormally dry: "Going into drought."

-- Moderate drought: "Some damage to crops."

-- Severe drought: "Crop or pasture losses likely."

-- Extreme drought: "Major crop/pasture losses."

-- Exceptional drought: "Exceptional and widespread crop/pasture losses."

As estimated 6.31 percent of the lower 48 states' land mass was in that "exceptional drought" category. That was also little changed.

Looking ahead, the drought center says, over the next week "there is an enhanced probability of precipitation in the Northern Plains and in the extreme South throughout the entire period, as well as in the Southwest and the south Atlantic Coast early in the period, and around the Great Lakes later in the period."

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