McHenry County has joined the 50 percent of all counties in the U.S. designated as drought disaster zones.
The county received its disaster declaration this week from the U.S. Agriculture Department, McHenry County Emergency Management Agency Director David Christensen said.
The Wednesday declaration helps affected farmers access loan assistance.
McHenry County was one of 66 counties added to the disaster area.
Only four of Illinois’ 102 counties – Cook, Kane, DuPage and Will – are not yet designated.
The latest report released Thursday from the U.S. Drought Monitor places most of Illinois, including far northern McHenry County, in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought.
Most of the county joins north central Illinois in the lesser category of “severe” drought.
Matters likely will get worse, according to the National Weather Service, which predicted Wednesday that the pattern of above-average temperature and below-average rainfall will continue through October.
McHenry County’s next chance for rain is today, with a chance of severe thunderstorms tonight, the weather service predicted.