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U.S. drought worsens after weeks of improvement

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 11:00 a.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A new report shows that the nation's worst drought in decades is getting worse again, ending an encouraging five-week run of improving conditions.

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report shows that 60.1 percent of the continental U.S. was in some form of drought as of Tuesday. That's up from 58.8 percent the previous week.

The portion of the lower 48 states in extreme or exceptional drought — the two worst classifications — also rose, to 19.04 percent from last week's 18.3 percent.

The stubbornly dry conditions intensified in Kansas, the top U.S. producer of winter wheat. The latest update shows that while 77.5 percent of that state remains in extreme or exceptional drought, the amount of land in the most-dire classification rose nearly 4 percentage points to 34.5 percent.

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