Half of Kentucky in ‘abnormally dry’ category on drought map

Published 10:30 am Friday, June 2, 2023

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The continued dry conditions in Kentucky have resulted in nearly half of the state being placed in the “Abnormally Dry” category, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor report issued on Thursday.

That designation means the areas shown in yellow on the map that accompanies this story, are just one step away from reaching at least “Moderate Drought” status. Currently, 44.49% of Kentucky is “Abnormally Dry,” which is listed as D0, the bottom of the drought scale that runs up to D4, “Exceptional Drought.”  The remainder of the state, 55.51%, is considered to have no drought.

Richard Heim with the National Centers for Environmental Information says some rain fell this week at the northwest and southeast ends of the Midwest Region, of which Kentucky is part, but most of the region received no precipitation.

“The Southeast’s cutoff low dropped 2 inches of rain over extreme eastern Kentucky,” he noted.  “But the story for the Midwest was continued drying of soils, low streamflow, and mounting precipitation deficits over the last 1 to 3 months.”

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According to Heim, the outlook over the next couple of weeks shows no improvement in Kentucky’s drought situation.

“For June 1-6, an upper-level ridge will dominate the middle part of North America, bringing above-normal temperatures,” he said. “Little to no precipitation is predicted for the eastern Great Lakes to Ohio Valley, the interior Southeast, and southern and western portions of the West.”

For the following week, he adds, “Odds favor drier-than-normal conditions across the Great Lakes, Upper Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley, and northeast Alaska.”

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

The data gathered each week includes precipitation through Tuesday morning, with the reports released on Thursday.