LINCOLN, Neb., Aug. 1 (UPI) — The contiguous U.S. land area experiencing exceptional drought in July reached the highest level in the history of the U.S. Drought Monitor, officials said.
Brian Fuchs, a geoscientist and climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said almost 12 percent of the contiguous United States fell into the “exceptional” classification during the month, a level of exceptional drought never before been seen in the monitor’s 12-year history.
The center uses a ranking system that begins at D0, abnormal dryness, and advances through D1, moderate drought; D2, severe drought; D3, extreme drought and D4, exceptional drought.
The impacts of exceptional drought include widespread crop and pasture losses as well as shortages of water in reservoirs, streams and wells, creating water emergencies, a UNL release said Monday.
Currently, 18 percent of the country is classified as under either extreme or exceptional drought, Fuchs said, while 41 percent faced some form of abnormal dryness or drought.