More than Half of US in Drought Conditions meet definition in 56% of continental US By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Jul 5, 2012 7:26 PM CDT 8 comments Comments John Rohlfing, 38, takes a drink as he works on the construction of his new home in North Aurora, Ill. (AP Photo/Robert Ray) (Newser) – Two stats of note to drive home just how hot it has been and continues to be: Parched earth: Drought conditions now exist in 56% of the continental US, the biggest percentage in the 12 years that records have been kept by the weekly Drought Monitor, reports MSNBC. The heat already is taking a toll on crops. Record heat: Across the US, more than 3,000 temperature records were broken from June 28 through yesterday, according to AccuWeather.com. They include record highs and maximum lows. One example: St. Louis' high of 105 on July Fourth.