Drought worsens across Southeast; 75M affected nationally

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A drought affecting more than 30 million people across the Southeastern United States is getting worse.

The latest assessment from the U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday shows arid conditions are deepening from Alabama to Virginia. Areas that were experiencing a moderate drought are now in a severe or extreme drought despite occasional rain.

About 75 million people nationally are living in drought areas nationally, with the largest share in the Southeast.

Forecasters say farm fields are drying out and some streams are down to a trickle. Alabama is under a wildfire alert after about 530 fires burned more than 6,200 acres (more than 2,500 hectares) of land over the last months.

The weather service says a disturbance moving through the Gulf of Mexico could bring additional rain to the region.

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