By the Associated Press
ATLANTA — Scientists say more than 45 million people across 14 Southern states are now in the midst of a drought that’s cracking farm soil, drying up ponds and raising the risk of wildfires.
The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows extreme drought conditions in parts of Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and the Florida panhandle. Lesser drought conditions also have expanded in parts of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Overall, nearly 20 percent of the lower 48 U.S. states is experiencing drought conditions.
The Drought Monitor is produced by researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.