More than half of the counties in the U.S. have now been labeled "natural disaster areas" by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as of Wednesday.
The USDA added 218 more counties in 12 states to the list, due to "damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat," a USDA report reads.
"The core of the heat has been settling southward over the Plains in recent days," Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.
"While conditions may improve slightly in the coming weeks over the central Plains, they could get worse for a time in the southern Plains and interior Texas, as far as grazing lands are concerned."
Pledging a commitment to helping America's farmers and ranchers, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced two new pieces of disaster assistance for the farmers and ranchers affected.
Vilsack, partnered with President Obama, has expanded emergency haying and grazing on approximately 3.8 million acres of conservation land to bring relief to livestock producers that are experiencing hay and pastureland shortages.
Additionally, he announced that crop insurance companies will now provide a 30-day grace period for farmers on insurance premiums in 2012, preventing incurring interest due to unpaid premiums.
"President Obama and I will continue to take swift action to get help to America's farmers and ranchers through this difficult time," said Vilsack.
The assistance seeks to support U.S. livestock producers "dealing with climbing feed prices, critical shortages of hay and deteriorating pasturelands."
A full list of the counties now designated as disaster areas can be found here.
As July draws to a close, a rare storm system swinging up from the Deep South will bring downpours that will break the back of the heat wave in much of the northeastern United States.
A renewed risk of severe weather will threaten portions of the north-central United States into midweek.
Heavy downpours will raise the concern for flash flooding along the Gulf Coast and lower Mississippi Valley through midweek.
A stifling heat wave will remain entrenched across the Northeast much of this week, despite a brief reprieve in humidity for some.
Dangerous heat will surge northward and send temperatures rising across the northwestern United States this week.
Severe thunderstorms rumbled through the Northeast on Monday, lashing the region with damaging winds while also unleashing heavy downpours that triggered flash flooding.
Pueblo, CO (1993)
A double record: 52 degrees in the morning and 101 degrees in the afternoon.
Chester County, PA (1994)
1.5" of rain in 30 minutes.
Wildwood, NJ (2000)
More than 4" of rain.