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Washington Voices

Extreme weather to begin summer

Severe drought continues to spread across much of the U.S. this summer. The latest figure from the National Climatic Data Center has 55 percent of the country in moderate to extreme drought conditions. Much of the southern Midwest is reporting the worst conditions in terms of drought and heat since 1988. Some have classified this arid pattern as the worst since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

Authorities have declared more than 1,000 U.S. counties in 26 states “natural disaster areas.”

Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Hawaii and the District of Columbia are all suffering from some type of drought stress. However, recent flooding in Texas, especially toward the Houston area will likely end the drought in that region.

And the drought is hurting the nation’s corn crop, with 38 percent in “poor or very poor” condition, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It’s likely to be worse in the coming weeks as more dry and hot weather is expected across the central U.S.

Locally, a storm last weekend dropped more than 1.4 inches of rain in Greenacres and about 1.2 inches on Coeur d’Alene. By contrast, the Spokane airport only received a trace from that weather system.

In addition to the wet weather across the Inland Northwest, there has been disastrous flooding in Japan, India, Russia and Europe.

Reach Randy Mann at wxmann.

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