Much of the contiguous U.S. is still experiencing drought, but conditions improved slightly in the past week. According to Reuters, about 62.39 percent of the lower 48 states were "experiencing at least 'moderate' drought as of Oct. 16, down from 63.55 percent a week earlier." Only 5.84 percent of this area remained under "exceptional" drought.
Along with hurting U.S. corn and soybean crops, the 2012 drought is now delaying the emergence of winter wheat, reported Climate Central. In fact, 68 percent of the U.S. winter wheat crop is experiencing drought conditions.
Hurricane researchers noted that this past week "[marked] the second "peak" of the hurricane season," explained OurAmazingPlanet. The season is nearly over, but experts predict one or two more storms may form in the Atlantic. According to the site, Brian McNoldy -- a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami -- estimates that there is an eight percent chance that a hurricane will hit Florida before the official end of the Atlantic season on November 30.
In Oklahoma, a massive dust storm triggered a multi-vehicle accident along Interstate 35 and "[forced] police to shut down part of the heavily traveled roadway amid near blackout conditions," reported the Associated Press. Jodi Palmer, a dispatcher with the Kay County Sheriff's Office, said, "I've never seen anything like this. In this area alone, the dirt is blowing because we've been in a drought. I think from the drought everything's so dry and the wind is high."
Below, find images of the Oklahoma dust storm and other extreme weather from around the world this week:
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