Severe drought conditions -- the worst in more than a hundred years -- continue around the South, with widespread total crop losses reported in Alabama. Recent heavy rains reduced drought severity in some areas, and this six-week animiated map shows some improvement. But D2 (severe), D3 (extreme) and D4 (exceptional) drought conditions continue to affect areas in eight Southern states.

The drought is still centered over Northern Alabama, extending north up the Tennessee Valley through East Tennessee and into Southeastern Kentucky, into Georgia to the east and Mississippi to the west. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, "The impact of the drought on farmers remains extremely serious, with Alabama corn still rated 88 percent poor to very poor, and soybeans at 85 percent poor or worse."

On Monday, the entire state of Alabama was declared a drought disaster area by the US Department of Agriculture. The New York Times reports that many farmers have gone through their cash reserves and are facing bankruptcy. Others are selling off cattle herds because there's nothing to feed them. A farmer's trade group director said "Nobody alive has ever seen it like this." The governors of Georgia and Alabama are calling for divine intervention through prayer.

Combined with the Easter Freeze, which damaged many fruit and vegetable crops, the drought is shaping up to be a widespread economic disaster for agriculture all over the South.