"The unrelenting drought gripping key farming states in the U.S. Plains shows no signs of abating, and it will take a deluge of snow or rain to restore critical moisture to farmland before spring planting of new crops, a climate expert said on Thursday."
"'It's not a pretty picture,' said climatologist Mark Svoboda of the University of Nebraska's Drought Mitigation Center.
Precipitation in the Plains region has been 3-6 inches shy of normal levels since October, and some areas are nearly 16 inches short of much-needed moisture over the last nine months, said Svoboda.
The drought that last year ranked as the worst in roughly 50 years is still entrenched in the nation's mid-section. This month was considered the worst January in terms of drought over the 13 years that a consortium of federal and state climatology experts have been monitoring drought levels and issuing regular 'Drought Monitor' reports, said Svoboda."