There has been little improvement in drought conditions across the United States, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report, released this morning.
The Southeast remains the most-affected region, and Alabama remains ground-zero, with most of the state still designated "exceptional drought," along with neighboring areas of Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. Extreme heat continued to plague the region, with temperatures four to 10 degrees above normal in many areas.
Parts of the region, like Birmingham, Ala. are expected to set all-time high temperature records for the month, after strings of 100-plus degree days that stretched on for as long as two weeks without respite.
The remnants of Hurricane Dean brought relief to parts of the Southwest, and the deadly floods that hit the upper Midwest relieved drought conditions there, but at a cost that wasn't worth paying: Not only of 18 lives and extensive property damage, but significant crop losses as well.
Prolonged dry spells and heat waves contributed to fire risk, and the fire season continued to be a rager. As of Wednesday evening, 31 fires were burning more than 1.5 million acres in 12 states, including 15 fires in Montana and eight in Idaho, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The season totals -- 64,964 fires having claimed 6,895,624 acres -- are 6% and 30% respectively above the 10-year averages.
Large Active Fires USGS -- Click map for more information
Heat waves and their attendant droughts and wildfires are expected to become more common as the world warms, scientists have warned. In other words, unchecked global warming will result -- most likely -- in more extreme conditions such as the United States has experienced this year.
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