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State Climatologist: Too Late To Save Corn Crop From Drought

Crops are suffering in Illinois under this summer's dry conditions. (CBS)

Crops are suffering in Illinois under this summer’s dry conditions. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A top climatologist said Thursday the drought plaguing Illinois farms appears to be leveling off, but it’s too late to save the state’s corn crop.

WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel said many of Illinois’ cornfields are a total loss already, due to the extended hot and dry conditions earlier this summer.

The rain that has fallen so far in August could help soybean farmers, but not those who grow corn, according to Angel.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

“Any more rain isn’t really going to help what’s out there and it’s not going to undo any of the damage we’ve already seen,” he said.

Angel spoke Thursday at a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration news conference, where climatologist Jake Crouch confirmed July was the hottest month on record nationwide, surpassing the previous record from 1936 by two tenths of a degree.

“If we have an average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during the August-through-December period, 2012 will still end up being the warmest period on record for the nation,” Crouch said.

However, there’s not much relief in sight. The NOAA’s 3-month outlook still calls for warmer and drier weather than usual.