US drought grows to cover widest area since 1956 - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

US drought grows to cover widest area since 1956

Photo credit: NOAA Photo credit: NOAA

MINNEAPOLIS (WKOW) -- A new report shows the drought stretching across the United States is the widest since 1956.

The monthly State of the Climate drought report released Monday by the National Climatic Data Center says 55 percent of the continental U.S. is in a moderate to extreme drought. That's the most since December 1956, when 58 percent of the country was covered by drought.

This year, 80 percent of the U.S. is abnormally dry, and the drought expanded last month with the 14th warmest and 10th driest June on record going back to 1895.

The nation's corn and soybean belt has been especially hard hit. The report says the Midwest has experienced its seventh warmest and tenth driest April-to-June period. The report also shows crops, pastures and rangeland have deteriorated at an alarming rate.

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