A rapidly worsening drought in the United States shows no sign of easing anytime soon. 

A lack of rain and a long-lived heatwave are to blame for the explosive growth of the drought that has hit Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota, but is also growing into southern sections of Canada.

It is being called a “flash drought”, which is defined by National Oceanic and AtmosphericAdministration, NOAA, as “relatively short periods of warm surface temperature and anomalously low and rapid decreasing soil moisture”.

The dire situation affecting the northern-central US border states and southern regions of Canada’s Saskatchewan and Manitoba provinces only began in late May. The drought has now grown to extreme levels in the US and severe levels in Canada.

Lack of rain across much of the area was the initial cause of the crisis. But as the ongoing event moved into the summer months it was then the growing heatwave that expanded the severity of the drought situation.

In the state of Montana, Governor Steve Bullock declared a drought emergency in late June. For the northeastern part of the state, this is the worst drought they had seen since 1988. The town of Glasgow, Montana, shattered a 99-year-old record for the driest April through June period.

Fifteen North Dakota counties are eligible for emergency loans as they are now being designated agricultural disasters by the US Department of Agriculture.

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SOURCE: Al Jazeera