WALTONVILLE, Ill / SUFFOLK, Va (AP) -- The nation's widest drought in decades is spreading, with more than half of the continental United States now in some stage of drought and most of the rest enduring abnormally dry conditions.
Only in the 1930s and the 1950s has a drought covered more land, according to federal figures released Monday.
In its monthly drought report, the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., announced that 55 percent of the country was in a moderate to extreme drought at the end of June. The parched conditions expanded last month in the West, the Great Plains and the Midwest, fueled by the 14th warmest and 10th driest June on record, the report said.
Around a third of the nation's corn crop has been hurt, with some of it so badly damaged that farmers have already cut down their withered plants to feed to cattle. As of Sunday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said, 38 percent of the corn crop was in poor or very poor condition, compared with 30 percent a week earlier.
But in the Hampton Roads area, it seems to be a different story. 13News talked with farmers in Suffolk whose crops are producing full ears of corn, thanks in part because of rain.
"Here we've been blessed. The rainfall has been adequate," said Bobby Ashburn the Tidewater Agriculture Research Center. "We all know that those of us involved in agriculture, it's a gamble. You never know what the good Lord is going to give us."