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Most of Kentucky is ‘abnormally dry’ on drought monitor, but Northern Kentucky is not included

With little rainfall during the past week, the latest weekly U.S. Drought Monitor released on Thursday shows the majority of Kentucky is in at least the “Abnormally Dry” category, with an increasing area now in “Moderate Drought.”

Forty-eight percent of the state is abnormally dry, about the same as last week, while 31% of Kentucky is now in moderate drought, compared to 13.5% last week. The reason abnormally dry is the same is that much of last week’s abnormally dry territory moved into moderate drought, while there was a substantial increase in the area that moved from no drought condition to abnormally dry.  Last week, 46% of Kentucky was listed as no drought. The new report drops the no drought area to 21%, primarily in Northern and Eastern Kentucky.

The moderate drought area includes over one million Kentuckians.

Curtis Riganti, with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, says, the problem exists in most of the Midwest, of which Kentucky is considered part.
“Rapid drying is occurring in the short-term, leading to widespread introduction of abnormal dryness and short-term moderate drought,” he said in the report. “This week, short-term moderate drought was introduced or expanded across much of central Kentucky, the Illinois-Indiana border, and southeast Missouri.  Parts of Kentucky are seeing corn leaves curl as a result of the recent hot and dry weather.”

There could be some relief in sight, however. The National Weather Service has rain in the forecast for Kentucky during the long Independence Day weekend, and Riganti says that is expecte3d to continue for much of next week.

“For the period from Wednesday, July 6, to Saturday, July 9, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center forecast favors above-normal precipitation across much of the Upper Midwest, northern Great Plains, and Ohio River Valley. To a lesser extent, above-normal precipitation is also favored in remaining areas of the U.S., except for northern New England, where equal chances for above- or below-normal precipitation exist.”

He adds, the heat is forecast to continue. “A large area of high probabilities for warmer than normal temperatures exists across the central U.S., especially from the Great Plains to the Missouri and Mississippi River valleys.  Above-normal temperatures are also favored in parts of the West and Southeast.”   

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