SHARECOMMENTMORE

ST. LOUIS -- The withering drought that has baked much of the nation's farmland, fields and forests this summer is hitting too close to home for thousands of Americans.

More and more shocked homeowners are getting stuck having to pay tens of thousands of dollars to repair cracked foundations, basements and even aboveground walls, ceilings and windows because of shifting caused by the drying of underground soil.

Foundation and basement repair specialists say they can barely keep up with demand. Dan Jaggers, a board member for Ohio-based industry trade group Basement Health Association, says the drought-caused damage to homes is probably the worst since the 1950s and could end up costing over $1 billion.

Insurance rarely covers the drought-caused damage, and some homeowners are left with bills of more than $100,000.

JIM SALTER
Associated Press