"Drought continued to expand through the central United States even as winter weather sets in, wreaking havoc on the nation's new wheat crop and on movement of key commodities as major shipping waterways grow shallow."
"Unseasonably warm conditions have exacerbated the harm caused by the lack of needed rainfall. The average temperature for the contiguous United States last month was 44.1 degrees Fahrenheit, 2.1 degrees above the 20th century average, and tying 2004 as the 20th warmest November on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The year-to-date marks the warmest first 11 months of any year on record for the contiguous United States, and for the entire year, 2012 will most likely surpass the current record as the warmest year for the nation, NOAA said.
The warm weather accelerates evaporation of any precipitation that does fall, and keeps plants - like the new wheat crop - trying to grow, rather than slipping into normal winter dormancy."