More than 55 percent of state out of drought conditions

Published 9:00 am Friday, July 22, 2022

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By Tom Latek

Most of Kentucky has improved its drought situation after last weekend’s rain, however parts of the state have seen worsening conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor report Issued July 21.

More than 55% of Kentucky has no drought conditions, in the new report, up from 30.29% last week.  The abnormally dry category (or D0) now includes 19.82% of the state, down from 35.42%. A moderate drought (or D1) is now reported in 16.08% of Kentucky, which is a drop of nearly half from last week’s 31.83%. However, the severe drought category (D2) has risen this week to 8.92% of the state, up from 2.46%. The Drought Monitor estimates 719,759 Kentuckians are now in drought areas.

Twelve counties in western Kentucky, including the Jackson Purchase, are in the D2 area, up from four last week. Parts of four counties in central Kentucky are also in severe drought, which is down one compared to the previous report.  Local burn bans are in effect for Logan and Todd counties, according to the Kentucky Division of Forestry.

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See the map that accompanies this story for the drought intensity levels in all 120 counties.

Wednesday night’s rain, which gave parts of southern Kentucky over two inches, is not taken into consideration in the current report, as the data is recorded through Tuesday morning and the report generated on Thursday mornings. Far western Kentucky had little or no rain from the system.

Brian Fuchs with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which supplies the data used by the U.S. Drought Monitor, said most of the eastern third of the nation, including the Midwest of which Kentucky is considered a part, received some rain.

“Portions of the Midwest and into the Southeast had some amounts over 3 inches for the week,” he stated.  “The areas with the most rain also had the coolest temperatures, with much of the Midwest and Southeast cooler than normal for the week with departures of 2-4 degrees below normal.”

Looking ahead, there is both good news and bad news for Kentucky, according to Fuchs.

“The 6-10-day outlooks show that the West, South, Midwest and East Coast have the best chances to record above-normal temperatures,” he said. “The best chances of above-normal precipitation appear to be over the central to southern Plains, Southwest and Midwest, with the best chances over Kansas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky.”