Still 'crazy dry' in the Southwest

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click image to zoomdrought monitorThe Drought Monitor map, released on June 13, 2013. Less than half of the Continental United States is in moderate or worse drought, and while it appears that conditions are improving, the Drought Monitors paints a different, drier picture in the Southwest.

From wildfires and dust storms in Colorado to deteriorating wheat conditions in Texas, the drought that has plagued the country for more than a year is now parked firmly in the Southwest.

In New Mexico, where 82 percent of the state is in extreme or worse drought, even seasoned farmers and ranchers are shocked at the conditions.

“I’m 51 years old. I was born here, and I’ve never lived anywhere else,” one of the state’s ranchers told the Albuquerque Journal. “And this is the worst I’ve ever seen it. It’s crazy dry.”

While the worst is centered in the Southwest, the extent of the drought expands further to the north. In Kansas the distance between extreme and no drought is as little as 72 miles. Forty-five percent of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought with the worst confined to the western counties.

Nebraska is another state still feeling the effects of the drought, especially in the western half. Click here to see more from the Drought Monitor report.

Overall, states west of the Missouri River appear to be having a tough time, while those to the east are staying drought-free for now. However, a long summer is still ahead and forecasters can’t agree on what it may hold. Some believe that the drought will stay confined with the West and Southwest, and others see it moving back into the central Corn Belt.  

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