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Published December 06, 2012, 11:41 AM

US drought levels off after 2 weeks of worsening

A new report shows that the nation’s worst drought in decades has leveled off last week after worsening during the two previous weeks.

By: Jim Suhr, Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — A new report shows that the nation’s worst drought in decades has leveled off last week after worsening during the two previous weeks.

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows more than 62 percent of the continental U.S. remains in some form of drought. One-fifth of the land in the lower 48 states is still in extreme or exceptional drought — the two worst classifications.

Drought conditions have not changed in the Dakotas over the week.

The Drought Monitor shows all of South Dakota remaining in some form of drought and just short of two-thirds of the state in the two worst categories, extreme and exceptional.

North Dakota has nothing worse than severe drought. About one-third of the state is in that category. About 91 percent of the state is rated as abnormally dry or in some form of drought.

Almost 50 percent of Montana is completely free of drought, compared with 45 percent a week ago. And almost 5 percent of the state, in the south-central region, remains in exceptional drought.

Minnesota’s conditions remain largely unchanged, with 25 percent in exceptional drought, in the southwest and northwest corners of the state, and the entire state remains in some form of drought.

All of several other Midwest and Plains farming states, including Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, are experiencing at least some form of drought.

The two previous weekly updates showed overall conditions had worsened after more than a month of showing slight improvements.

Heavy rainfall is expected in coming days in portions of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River region.

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