The drought wilting crops and drying up lakes across most of the central US intensified rapidly this past week and shows no signs of letting up, a new report shows.
The range of the drought increased just slightly, but the severity of dry conditions is worsening, The Associated Press reported.
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According to Thursday's US Drought Monitor report, more than 20 percent of US land is now classified as being in extreme or exceptional drought, up 7 percent from last week.
The jump "this week was the largest since we started the US Drought Monitor" 12 years ago, Brian Fuchs, a climatologist and Drought Monitor author, told NBC News. "This is really showing the rapid intensification of the drought due to the heat/dryness over the region with little relief for anyone."
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Every state now has at least a small area categorized as "abnormally dry" or worse, according to the report.
"It’s such a broad footprint," Fuchs told NBC.
The news comes as experts said this year's drought will almost certainly cost at least $12 billion, making it the costliest since 1988.
Food prices could go up by 3 to 4 percent next year as a result, with beef expected to take the highest jump at 4 to 5 percent, the Department of Agriculture told USA Today.