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Chart: US suffers record drought

Map shows the level of drought and dryness across the US. Map courtesy US Department of Agriculture. Click to enlarge.

An exceptional drought is still scorching major parts of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. A new report from the National Drought Mitigation Center finds that over July, nearly 12 percent of the US saw exceptional drought conditions, the highest record since monitoring began a dozen years ago. Exceptional drought is the worst possible on a 5-scale drought scale.

The drought has been the worst in Texas, which hoped to see rain from Tropical Storm Don, but the storm fizzled out over the state. The drought, which spurred wildfires across the state, is one of the worst in Texas history and has led to 2 million acres of cropland to be abandoned.

A US report commissioned by the Bush Administration in 2007 and released in 2009 warned that the Southwest of the US would likely see warmer temperatures and worst droughts due to climate change. Much of what is currently being seen in the Southwest this summer was predicted in the report: drought would harm agriculture production, while wildfires would threaten personal property and forests.

Nearly half of the US (41 percent) is currently undergoing drought or abnormal dryness.

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