Nebraska continues to be the big loser when it comes to drought.
The entire heart of the country remains in drought, but the percentage of Nebraska in exceptional drought has grown to 77.61 percent. That's a 4.36 percentage point increase from last week.
No state has a greater perecentage of its area in exceptional drought, the worst category. The exceptional drought classification means that pasture and crop losses have been widespread and water emergencies are in effect.
The National Drought Mitigation Center publishes the map, called the U.S. Drought Monitor, every Thursday. The center is housed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Nationally, drought's grip eased slightly week to week, even as it intensified in Nebraska and the northern plains. About 65 percent of the country is considered in drought, a decrease of almost 1 percentage point.
South Dakota saw the biggest increase in exceptional drought as Nebraska's problems spread northward. The amount of area in the worst level of drought in South Dakota grew by nearly four times, to 27 percent, up from 6.72 percent.
Other states seeing drought intensify include North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Source: National Drought Mitigation Center