Heavy rains improve drought conditions in Kentucky

Published 9:00 am Friday, July 28, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Although it caused flooding in some parts of western Kentucky, the heavy rain last week has resulted in drought conditions improving in the state, according to the weekly U.S Drought Monitor report issued Thursday morning.

A total of 86.67% of Kentucky is currently considered to be in a no drought situation, which is up from 72.55% last week and 66.89% two weeks ago.

The area designated as “Abnormally Dry,” or D0 on the scale that runs from D0 to D4 depending on severity, has now improved to 10.74%.  Last week it was 16.83% and 20.04% the week before that.

Email newsletter signup

“Moderate Drought,” or D1, has also shrunk to 2.59% in the latest report, with small areas found in eastern, northern and western Kentucky.  That is a significant drop from the 8.95% recorded last week and 11.39% two weeks ago.

The best news is the area of “Severe Drought”, or D2, which stood at 1.68% during the past two weeks in several western Kentucky counties, has been upgraded, so no D2 areas remain anywhere in the state.

See the map that accompanies this story.

An analysis of the Midwest region, which is where they place Kentucky, by Brian Fuchs with the National Drought Mitigation Center, found, “Almost the entire region was cooler than normal for the week with departures of 2-4 degrees widespread,” he said.  “Central Missouri, southern Illinois and western Kentucky were the wettest areas, with some of these areas having well over 200% of normal precipitation for the week.”

He also noted, “That same extreme rainfall allowed for two-category improvements over western Kentucky, and portions of northern Kentucky had abnormally dry conditions eliminated.  However, a new area of moderate drought was added over eastern Kentucky.”

That was in Harlan County, where 22,84% of the land area was affected.

Looking ahead to the first week of August, the Climate Prediction Center of the National Weather Service is forecasting near normal to slightly above temperatures, with near normal to slightly above normal rain chances.