The area of drought covering nearly two-thirds of the country shrunk only slightly as drought intensified in the Midwest and Great Plains, according to the latest weekly update from the U.S. Drought Monitor. Conditions meanwhile worsened in parts of Maryland, but could improve, according to forecasts.
Sixty-three percent of the continental U.S. is in at least a moderate drought, down one percentage point from a week ago. In comparison, a year ago, 30 percent of the continental U.S. was in at least a moderate drought.
More than half of Maryland is in at least a moderate drought, about 52 percent, an area that has fluctuated over the past few months but stayed relatively stable for the most part.
Much of the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland entered what the drought monitor considers "severe" drought last week -- 29 percent of the state was in severe drought as of July 31, compared with 20 percent a week earlier and 4 percent three months ago.