Oppressive heat cloaked the southern half of the Plains today, pushing temperatures past 100, while a steady batch of cloudiness and showers kept temperatures in the 90s across the scorched Southeast.
The Southeast, plagued by the century's worst drought, welcomed the cooler temperatures and scattered rains, but weather forecasters said much more was necessary to reverse damages that have passed the $1.2-billion mark.
South Carolina is the hardest hit of the Southern states, with $379 million in damages. The effect of the heat also has moved as far north as Delaware where there has been $40 million in crop damage.
Farmers from Illinois, Indiana, New York and Oregon have banded together in efforts to help struggling Southeastern cattle farmers, providing hundreds of tons of free hay to be used as livestock feed.