Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

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December 6, 2012

Iowa drought doesn't budge

OTTUMWA — Iowa's drought didn't shift at all as December began, with the same conditions in place as in the prior week.

The U.S. Drought Monitor's map of Iowa shows the worst of the drought over the northwestern part of the state. Much of eastern Iowa, including Davis, Van Buren, Keokuk and Jefferson counties, as well as most of Wapello County, fall under the moderate drought category.

Things are drier to the west and north, as Appanoose, Marion, Mahaska and Monroe counties are primarily in the severe drought category.

A closer look at the national map shows the drought in Iowa is now categorized as a long-term drought. That designation typically applies to droughts that have persisted for more than six months.

The worst of the drought now extends across the central plains, running in a swath from roughly the Texas panhandle to central South Dakota. More than three-quarters of the country is in some form of drought, with more than 60 percent in at least a moderate drought.

The National Drought Mitigation Center reports the drought in Iowa is having an impact on everything from shipping costs to food bank supplies. Crop insurance payouts have topped $6.3 billion nationally as crops failed in the heat.

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