Drought intensified over Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma and eased slightly in other areas during the seven days that ended Aug. 14, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor map released today. The total area of Kansas in exceptional drought jumped to 63.3 percent as of the Aug. 14 map, up from 38.58 percent the previous week. In Missouri, the area in exceptional drought increased to 35.51 percent, up from 13.89 percent. Oklahoma saw the area in exceptional drought increase to 38.86 percent, up from 16.03 percent. In Nebraska, exceptional drought expanded to 22.53 percent of the state, up from 3.46 percent. The good news was that the total area of the United States in drought declined slightly, to 51.7 percent, down from 52.27 percent, and there is hope for continued improvement in the Corn Belt and other areas.