Sept. 21 News: U.S. Drought Expands Slightly, Setting A Record For Area Of Moderate Drought

The massive and widespread 2012 drought that has gripped the nation since the spring refuses to die, according to the latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor — and in fact, it’s expanded a little: as of September 18, 64.82 percent of the contiguous U.S. was suffering from at least moderate drought, slightly more than the 64.16 percent reported a week earlier, enough of a gain to set a new record for this drought category. [Climate Central]

The economy in rural parts of 10 Midwest and Western states continued to look weak in September as the drought weighed down agricultural businesses. A new survey of bankers in the region released Thursday showed that the overall economic index remained in negative territory at 48.3 in September. [CBS]

Suburban residents may have noticed an influx of ruby-throated hummingbirds flitting around their backyards this summer. The small birds are looking for food in new places because of the prolonged summer drought, experts said. [Daily Herald]

A team of biologists has just announced the first documented case of bird-to-bird malaria transmission in Alaska. [Climate Central]


Boise endured one of the smokiest days of the year Thursday — which is saying something in the 2012 summer of smoke — but the air quality remained in the moderate range all day as that smoke stayed up high in the atmosphere. [Idaho Statesman]

Cuts are happening throughout the American wind sector, which includes hundreds of manufacturers, from multinationals that make giant windmills to smaller local manufacturers that supply specialty steel or bolts. In recent months, companies have announced almost 1,700 layoffs. [New York Times]

Insurers and reinsurers should do more to help mitigate the impact of severe weather and climate risks, according to a report issued Thursday by Boston-based Ceres. [Businessweek]

British MPs are calling on Shell and others to halt “reckless” oil and gas drilling in the Arctic until stronger safety measures are put in place. [Guardian]

Representatives of Brazil, South Africa, India and China are meeting to define a common position ahead of November’s United Nations’ climate change conference in Doha. [Washington Post]


Communities with windfarms in their area could get money off their electricity bills or grants for facilities such as playgrounds, the government has suggested. [Guardian]