U.S. drought conditions expanded slightly last week -report
Feb 21 (Reuters) - Drought conditions deepened in the United States last week, climate experts said on Thursday. The weekly Drought Monitor report issued by a consortium of state and federal climatologists showed the following as of Feb. 19: * Overall, 18.66 percent of the contiguous United States was suffering from extreme drought, the second-worst category of drought, up from 17.71 percent a week earlier. The percentage of the United States in exceptional drought, the worst category, grew to 6.66 percent, up from 6.61 percent. * The key farming states in the High Plains region remained the most stricken by drought, with severe or worse levels of drought unchanged at 82.51 percent of the region. * In Kansas, the level of exceptional drought - considered the worst level - was improved at 36.13 percent of the state, down slightly from 36.16 percent, while the second-worst level of drought, dubbed extreme, shrunk to 75.19 percent of the state, from 79.36 percent. * There was almost no change over the last week in Nebraska, where roughly 77.47 percent of the land area is suffering from exceptional drought. Slight improvement was seen in the level of extreme drought, down to 96.23 percent from 96.28 percent of the state. * Colorado, meanwhile, saw exceptional drought hold steady at 24.92 percent of the state, but extreme drought expanded to 51.14 percent, up from 50.99 percent. * But Oklahoma, considered part of the U.S. South, saw exceptional drought levels jump to 41.64 percent of the state, up from 39.58 percent. (Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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