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Published November 01, 2012, 04:11 PM

Sandy’s fallout skips drought-plagued Midwest

Drought-plagued Midwest farming states got little benefit from the massive storm that pounded the Eastern Seaboard this week, although the nation’s worst drought in decades appears to be easing in some areas.

By: Jim Suhr, Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Drought-plagued Midwest farming states got little benefit from the massive storm that pounded the Eastern Seaboard this week, although the nation’s worst drought in decades appears to be easing in some areas.

The U.S. Drought Monitor’s weekly update posted Thursday shows that 60 percent of the land in the lower 48 states is experiencing some degree of drought as of Tuesday. That’s down nearly 2 percentage points, taking into account much of Sandy’s fallout.

Dry conditions continued easing in Iowa, North Dakota and Illinois, although far too late to help the corn and soybean crops, which are nearly completely harvested.

The drought in South Dakota is unchanged in the week, but conditions have eased in North Dakota for a second week.

The Drought Monitor shows that about 57 percent of South Dakota remains in the two worst categories of drought, extreme and exceptional. All of the state is in some form of drought.

About 90 percent of North Dakota is in some category of drought, down from 95 percent last week. The state has no areas in extreme or exceptional drought. About 30 percent of the state is in severe drought, down from 37 percent over the week.

The federal government says 88 percent of this year’s winter wheat crop had been planted as of Monday. That’s 3 percentage points lower than the five-year average.

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