Drought news: Denver’s Sloans Lake closing to boating today

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From The Denver Post (Ryan Parker):

A record-breaking heat wave this summer, and irrigation for dry Denver Parks, have left water level at a point necessitating closure, officials said. As of Thursday, Denver has received only 6.4 inches of precipitation in 2012, which is below the normal level of 12.5 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

From Reuters (Carey Gillam):

At least “moderate” levels of drought have now enveloped more than 64 percent of the contiguous United States, up from 63.39 percent the week before, according to the Drought Monitor, a weekly compilation of data gathered by federal and academic scientists.

“This is the greatest extent of drought we’ve seen all summer,” said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “The drought is easing in the east, but we’re seeing more of it expand in the Central Plains, Rockies and Dakotas.”

The Drought Monitor’s measurement of the worst level of drought, “exceptional”, expanded to 6.23 percent of the land area in the contiguous U.S. for the week ended September 11, up from 6.14 percent in the prior week…

This year’s persistent high heat and lack of soil moisture have decimated the U.S. corn crop, and threaten the same to the soybean crop. Dry soils are also worrying wheat farmers who now must seed a new winter wheat crop. The U.S. Agriculture Department on Wednesday estimated that the U.S. corn crop will be the lowest in six years and soybeans the lowest in nine years due to drought losses.

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