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Published November 29, 2012, 10:49 AM

Drought worsens second week in a row

A new report shows that the nation’s worst drought in decades has worsened for a second straight week, after conditions had improved for more than a month.

By: Jim Suhr, Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — A new report shows that the nation’s worst drought in decades has worsened for a second straight week, after conditions had improved for more than a month.

The portion of the lower 48 states in extreme or exceptional drought — the two worst classifications — also rose, to 20.12 percent from last week’s 19.04 percent.

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows that 62.7 percent of the continental U.S. was in some form of drought as of Tuesday. That’s up from 60.1 percent the previous week.

Drought conditions have worsened in South Dakota, but remain relatively stable in North Dakota.

The map shows 63 percent of South Dakota in the worst two categories of drought, extreme and exceptional. That is up more than 8 percent from last week. All of the state is in some form of drought.

The portion of South Dakota in those two classifications rose more than 8 percentage points, to 63.32 percent.

About 91 percent of North Dakota is in drought, unchanged over the week. The state has no areas in extreme or exceptional drought, and the amount of land in severe drought increased only 3 percent over the week.

More than 83 percent of Minnesota is in severe drought, up from about 43 percent last week. The entire state is in some stage of drought, with 25 percent extreme.

Montana’s conditions remained the same, with just more than 45 percent of the state free of drought, and none in exceptional drought. Almost 4.5 percent remains in extreme drought.

The dry conditions intensified sharply in Oklahoma, where 90.5 percent of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought. That’s up 19 percentage points.

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