The maps above compare soil moisture levels during the 2000 growing season with the 1999 season. The Balkans (Hungary, Romania, Serbia, and Bulgaria) have been unfavorably dry since late winter. Widespread drought and record high temperatures covered almost the entire area of eastern Europe by June. The drought lasted until July in the north (Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) and through August further south. While fall planted crops managed to survive fairly well under the poor weather conditions, spring planted crops did not. The vast majority of corn grown in eastern Europe is in the Balkan countries of Romania, Hungary, Serbia and Croatia, where the most severe drought occurred. Although temperatures across eastern Europe moderated in July, the drought continued in the south and extreme heat returned to the Balkans in August. The withering corn crop developed ahead of schedule due to the excessive heat. Harvesting should now be underway in the southern regions.
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