Report shows U.S. drought intensifying
ST. LOUIS – The widest drought to grip the United States in decades is getting worse with no signs of abating, a new report warned Thursday, as state officials urged conservation and more ranchers considered selling cattle.
The drought covering two-thirds of the continental U.S. had been considered relatively shallow, the product of months without rain, rather than years. But Thursday’s report showed its intensity is rapidly increasing, with 20 percent of the nation now in the two worst stages of drought – up 7 percent from last week.
The U.S. Drought Monitor classifies drought in various stages, from moderate to severe, extreme and, ultimately, exceptional. Five states – Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska – are blanketed by a drought that is severe or worse. States such as Arkansas and Oklahoma are nearly as bad, with most areas covered in a severe drought and large portions in extreme or exceptional drought.
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