Drought of 2012 worst since 1956: NOAA

Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:49pm EDT

A drought affected corn crop is seen near Paris, Missouri July 13, 2012. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

A drought affected corn crop is seen near Paris, Missouri July 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Adrees Latif

(Reuters) - The drought scorching the Midwest is spanning 55 percent of the contiguous United States and is the worst since 1956, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a report posted on its website on Monday.

The agency said based on the Palmer Drought Index, the 55 percent coverage was the largest since December 1956 when 58 percent of the contiguous United States was in moderate to extreme drought.

(Reporting by K.T. Arasu; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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