Extreme drought persists across much of the country

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - 9:00am

A searing heat wave continues to cook a majority of the United States.

More than half the country is dealing with moderate drought conditions, or worse.

Scorched earth covers the nation's heartland, with several states locked in extreme or exceptional drought conditions.

Thermometers serve as a constant reminder of just how stifling things are in places like Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, where again Tuesday the temperatures pushed passed the 100-degree mark.

In Iowa that heat and lack of rain has turned normally fertile fields to dust, and could soon take its toll on livestock.

"We've made three cuttings of hay, but if we don't get any rain, our fourth cutting will not be there. It's just drying up and there won't be any more feed," says Chris Knapp.

Even in Minnesota the lakes are like bath water.

The surface temperature at Lake Superior in Duluth is 75 degrees, 20 degrees above normal.

That's as hot as it's been in a century.

Across the state conditions are even worse.

"We had water temperatures pushing 90 degrees in some of our shallow lakes," says Waterville Fisheries supervisor T.J. DeBates.

32 counties have had to deal with fish kills on at least 25 lakes this summer, evidence of severe conditions that forecasters warn won't give way to cooler temperatures or rain across much of the country for quite some time.

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