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      Drought worsens after weeks of improvement

      By By JIM SUHR
      AP Business Writer

      ST. LOUIS (AP) - A new report shows that the nation's worst drought in decades has worsened for a second straight week, after conditions had improved for more than a month.

      The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows that 62.7% of the continental U.S. was in some form of drought as of Tuesday. That's up from 60.1% the previous week.

      The portion of the lower 48 states in extreme or exceptional drought - the two worst classifications - also rose, to 20.12% from last week's 19.04%.

      The dry conditions intensified sharply in Oklahoma, where 90.5% of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought. That's up 19%age points.

      The portion of South Dakota in those two classifications rose more than 8%age points, to 63.32%.

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