Last week it was the worst drought since the 80's. Now it's deemed the worst drought since 1956. And, with at least two more weeks of hot, dry conditions forecast for America's west and mid-west, it's expected to impact upwards of 80% of the continental United States.
Corn prices were up 30% last week on poor yields. Now prices are up 50% from just last month.
The L.A. Times reports that this year's drought loss claims are expected to exceed the previous record for weather related crop losses, the record set last year.
The drought gripping the Midwest and about 80% of the country is the most
widespread since 1956, stoking massive wildfires and decimating the nation's
breadbasket crops, according to a report released Monday by the National Drought Mitigation
Center. Drought conditions led the Department of Agriculture recently to declare
natural disasters in more than 1,000 counties in 26 states.
Last year, crop insurers paid record
claims of about $11 billion for weather-related losses, including major losses
in corn and soybeans, said David Graves of the Washington-based American Assn.
of Crop Insurers.
This year's losses
could surpass that "easily, given that the drought is developing in corn-growing
regions" including Illinois and Indiana, he said.
Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, have vowed to push back hard against any efforts to link the megadrought to climate change.