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Drought area widens in U.S., producers are frustrated

More than 65 per cent of the contiguous United States was under at least “moderate” drought as of Sept. 25, up from 64.82 per cent a week earlier, according to the Drought Monitor, a weekly compilation of data gathered by federal and academic scientists. The portion of the United States under “exceptional” drought — the most dire classification — rose to 6.12 per cent from 5.96 per cent a week earlier.

Conditions were most severe in the High Plains, with severe or worse drought levels covering 83.80 per cent of the region, up from 82.81 per cent the prior week, according data gathered by federal and academic climatologists.

More than 24 per cent of the region, which includes Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado, was in the worst level of drought, dubbed “exceptional.”

The Commerce Department said Sept. 27 that the drought contributed to a sluggish rise of only 1.3 per cent in gross domestic product gains, the slowest pace since the third quarter of 2011.

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