Drought intensifies in the South, no end in sight

Record-breaking triple-digit temperatures were prolonging a devastating drought that has been baking the South and the dry spell could extend into next year and beyond, climate experts said on Thursday.

“Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse… we are seeing expansion of this drought. This drought will continue to persist and likely intensify,” said climatologist Mark Svoboda, with the University of Nebraska’s National Drought Mitigation Center.

The drought is edging its way to the east even as it intensifies in the southern states, according to a weekly report released Thursday by a consortium of state and federal climatologists dubbed the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“We are seeing intensification in the southeast, in particular Georgia, eastern Alabama,” said Svoboda.

The drought increasingly looks likely to extend into next year, he said.

Hurricane Irene offered only a little respite for some areas to the east, he said. But the rest of the nation was contending with mostly dry, warmer-than-normal weather.

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