'Extreme' drought grows
Drought conditions have gone from "severe" to "extreme" in several key areas in the last week, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the latest version of which was released Thursday morning.
The most noticeable expansion of the drought in the last week came in northern Indiana, southern Indiana and Illinois, Arkansas and western Kansas, all of which saw the "extreme" droughted areas expand. Parts of southern Illinois and Indiana and the Missouri Bootheel have some spots where the drought's reached the "exceptional" stage, the most severe level on the Drought Monitor's intensity scale.
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Though some minor improvements could change the color scheme of the Drought Monitor map next week, don't look for huge change, says Donald Keeney, senior ag meteorologist with MDA EarthSat Weather.
"The forecast for this week shows that some minor improvements will be possible across the north-central Midwest, mainly in Iowa, far northern Illinois, far northern Indiana, southern Wisconsin, and southern Michigan," Keeney says. "However, very warm and dry conditions will persist across the central and southwestern Midwest, central and southern Plains, and Delta through the next 10 days, and drought conditions will continue to intensify in these areas. Some slight improvement will be possible in the Southeast next week."