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Continental US Facing Worst Drought in Decades

The US is facing its worst drought in half a century, according to a report released this week by the U.S. Drought Monitor.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 11/23/2012, 5:14 AM

Drought in Israel (file)
Drought in Israel (file)
Flash 90

The US is facing its worst drought in half a century, according to a report released this week by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

After more than a month of slow improvements, the drought-tracking consortium said Wednesday more than half of the continental United States still faces a lack of rain.

In fact, 60.1 percent of the country currently faces some type of drought as of this week, an increase since last week's 58.8 percent rating.

The worst-hit areas are in the center of the country, as well as the southeast and portions of Texas.

The amount of land in extreme or exceptional drought – the two worst ratings – now stands at 19.04 percent.

The result will ultimately be a rise in the price of grain, as the fields where the food is grown are baked hard and dry in the sun.

Richard Heim, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center, predicted the drought area will expand further by next week since there is little rain forecast for the Midwest. Scientists are not clear about why the drought has occurred, or when it might end, he said.

Israel has been coping with similar drought conditions for decades, noted Avraham Tenne, Head of the Desalination Department in the Israel Water Authority in an interview with The New York Times this summer. “We have too much experience of drought years”, said Tenne, adding that Israel could help the United States with this issue.