ST. LOUIS -- Some key farm states punished by the nation's worst drought in decades benefited slightly from recent rains, with a bigger dousing forecast from the remnants of Hurricane Isaac.
The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday shows that the section of the continental U.S. in the worst two categories of drought -- extreme and exceptional -- remained relatively unchanged at 23.2 percent as of the report's Tuesday cutoff.
But thanks to rains last weekend, the amount of Iowa in the two worst drought classifications fell by 9 percentage points to 58.3 percent. Illinois saw a 7 percentage point drop-off while Kansas' numbers slid 6 points.
Forecasters expect portions of the Midwest to get as much as 12 inches of rain within days due to Isaac, now a tropical storm.