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Published November 09, 2012, 10:40 AM

Drought stable in SD, improving in ND

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

By: Jim Suhr, Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — The nation’s worst drought in decades has worsened in parts of the nation’s midsection, further frustrating ranchers and growers of winter wheat in Kansas and Oklahoma.

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 less than a percentage point from the previous week.

Drought conditions have not changed in South Dakota over the week, with all of the state in some form of drought and more than half in the two worst categories.

Extreme or exception drought continues to cover most of the southern half of South Dakota.

North Dakota still has no areas in those categories, and only about three-fourths of the state is now in some form of drought. That is down from 90 percent last week. About 30 percent of the state remains in severe drought.

But the nation’s worst drought in decades intensified in Kansas, the top U.S. producer of winter wheat. Thursday’s update shows that the expanse of that state in extreme or exceptional drought — the two worst classifications — rose roughly 6 percentage points, to 83.8 percent.

Nearly 76 percent of Oklahoma is mired in the two highest forms of drought, up 8 percentage points.