Recent rains bring two-thirds of state fall into no drought category

Published 10:03 am Friday, July 7, 2023

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Rainfall in Kentucky during the seven-day period ending July 4 has led to some continued improvements in the state, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report issued Thursday morning.

Currently, 66.33% of Kentucky, or roughly two-thirds of the state, is considered to have no drought.  That is up from the 37.54%  16.35% reported last week, 16.35% the week before that, and 9.89% three weeks ago.

On the scale that goes from D0, “abnormally dry,” to D4, “exceptional drought,” 22.47% 39.88% of Kentucky is now considered to be D0.  That is part pf an ongoing trend of reductions during the past three weeks of 39.88%, 54.49%, and an even 59.00%.

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The area that is categorized as being in a moderate drought, or D1, also shrunk once again this week, to 11.20%.  That is about half of last week’s 22.16%.  Two weeks ago it was 29.16%, and 31.12% that was reported three weeks ago.  No part of Kentucky has the D2-D4 designations.

See the map that accompanies this story to see how your county fared this week.

“This week’s weather in the Midwest region varied substantially, with heavy rain falling from St. Louis, across much of central and northern Illinois, Kentucky, and parts of Indiana and Ohio, to continued dry conditions in southern Missouri, eastern Wisconsin, and central and northwest Minnesota,” said Curtis Riganti with the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC).  “Large scale improvements occurred in central and eastern Kentucky, where rainfall was sufficient to put a significant dent in precipitation deficits, increased streamflow, and improved soil moisture.”

Looking ahead through July 11, Riganti says, showers and thunderstorms are in the forecast.  “While thunderstorms can produce large amounts of precipitation in a very short time, most of the rain runs off into drainage channels and streams. On the other hand, rain falling as light to moderate showers soaks into the ground, helps to recharge groundwater, sustains vegetation, and begins to chip away at moisture deficits that have built up during drought.”

For the period July 12-18, the Climate Prediction Center says Kentucky can expect below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the NDMC, located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.