Majority of Kentucky in no drought area

Published 10:26 am Monday, August 14, 2023

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Rainfall during the seven-day period ending Tuesday morning led to improved conditions across Kentucky, with only three small areas listed as abnormally dry or in moderate drought, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released on Thursday.

98.01% of the state is in a no drought area, compared to 95.58% last week.  The area considered “Abnormally Dry,” or D0 on the scale that measures drought severity from D0 to D4, currently stands at 1.72%, and includes portions of Fulton, Henderson, and Union counties in the west, along with Bell and Harlan counties in the East.  All saw reductions since the previous report, except for Harlan County, which has remained the same.  Rain that fell Tuesday and Wednesday could improve things even more in next week’s report.

Harlan County is also the only one with “Moderate Drought,” or D1 conditions, which includes 22.84% of the county’s land area, identical to last week.  No parts of Kentucky were in D2-D4 drought status in this latest report.  See the map that accompanies this story.

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Brad Pugh with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC), says widespread rain during the first week of August led to improvements across the Midwest Region, of which Kentucky is a part.  The only exception in the region was Wisconsin, which has seen drought conditions worsen due to lack of significant rain.

Looking ahead, Pugh says, “According to the Weather Prediction Center, during the five-day period August 10 – 14, moderate to heavy precipitation (0.5 to 2 inches, locally more) is forecast for the Midwest, Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, and the Northeast.”

For the seven-day period following that, the CPC is forecasting Kentucky to have above-normal temperatures and near-normal precipitation.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the U. S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.