The worst drought in decades shows few signs of letting up; in fact, it could stretch through October and get even worse, according to weather officials. Following the hottest half-year ever recorded, "we don't have a reason for saying it's going to improve," notes one. "Even if temperatures went down 5 degrees and rainfall increased 50% for the rest of this month ... it's not going to reverse the decline in crop conditions and the ultimate yield," adds an Iowa climatologist.
The only glimmer of hope is tropical activity in the Gulf of Mexico that could offer rain in some southern areas, notes the New York Times. Some 70% of the Corn Belt was suffering from drought conditions as of the week ending Tuesday. Corn and soybean prices have already set records, while wheat prices are at a four-year high, Reuters notes. And federally backed farmers' insurance could end up salting the wound for consumers: It could be in farmers' best financial interest to report complete crop losses instead of trying to salvage what's left, further slicing supply.