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Worst drought since 1956 hits US

US is suffering its widest drought since 1956, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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Lightning strikes as a much-needed rain storm comes to Lake Powell near Page, Arizona which is marked by a 100-foot thick "bathtub ring" of bleached sandstone, the result of a six-year drought that dropped the level of the reservoir. (David McNew/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States is suffering its widest drought since 1956, according to data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA reported on Monday that by the end of June about 55 percent of the continental US was in a moderate to extreme drought, the BBC reported.

It turns out, high temperatures in June across the nation are partially to blame.

According to CNN, June ranked as the third-driest month nationally in at least 118 years.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has called it a "natural disaster of epic proportions," CNN reported.

"We've never see a drought like this and we have to make sure we do something about it," he said, adding seven more counties will be designated  disaster areas.

The Associated Press reported more than half the country is experiencing some degree of drought. Crop loss could mount unless rain comes soon.

More from GlobalPost: Corn harvest in Midwest threatened by drought, sweltering heat

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120716/worst-drought-1956-hits-us