Heatwave left 25 percent of Kentucky classified as abnormally dry

Published 8:00 am Friday, June 28, 2024

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The hot and mostly dry weather of the past several weeks led a quarter of Kentucky to be classified as abnormally dry, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday.

While 74.41 percent of the state is considered to have no drought condition, 25.58 percent of Kentucky is abnormally dry, or D0 on the scale of D0 to D4, based on drought severity. The only exception is Boone County, a small portion of which is D1, or in Moderate Drought. That consists of 1.46 percent of the county or 0.01 percent of the entire state, which the U.S. Drought Monitor says affects an estimated 1,735 people. See the map accompanying this story.

For the seven-day period ending June 25, precipitation was mainly confined to the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes due to high pressure dominating the eastern U.S., keeping the storm track farther northward.

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Adam Hartman with the National Weather Service said, “Due to the northward-shifted storm track, there are stark differences in rainfall totals in the Midwest over the past month, with much of the Upper Midwest and northern Great Lakes experiencing rainfall surpluses, resulting in week after week of improving conditions and leading to widespread flash and river flooding in the Upper Mississippi Valley. Conversely, the Middle Mississippi and Ohio Valleys were rapidly drying out.

“The persistent high pressure in the East has led to several heat waves across parts of the Corn Belt, resulting in a widespread, rapid deterioration of conditions and warranting a large expansion of abnormal dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1), particularly across the eastern Corn Belt.”

It should be noted that the weekly data are gathered on Tuesday morning, and the report issued on Thursday, so the rain that much of Kentucky received both Tuesday and Wednesday will not be reflected in the Drought Monitor until next Thursday.

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