Drought Conditions Continue Expanding East

Rain over the past week didn’t impact much of the areas that needed it the most. USDA’s Drought Monitor indicates that the area of Kansas in some stage of drought has ballooned to almost 27.5 percent, with another 27.3 percent in abnormal dryness. Extreme drought in Western Kansas has now expanded five-fold to nearly 2.5 percent, covering a majority of Hamilton and Kearny counties, as well as northern Grant and Stanton counties. Severe drought also expanded last week to include areas that had fallen into moderate drought the previous week, including southwestern Ellis, southern Trego, and a majority of eight more counties. 9.2 percent of the state is in severe drought. Moderate drought now lines Highway 24 from the Colorado state line east to Hoxie, then dips to cover southern Graham and Rooks counties. The first stage of drought conditions is also affecting the western halves of Barton and Russell counties, along with a majority of Gray County and northern portions of Ford and Seward counties.

Abnormal dryness is no longer present in Dickinson, Marion or Morris counties, and has also retreated from other areas east of Interstate 135. However, pre-drought conditions are now apparent in northern Marshall and Washington counties.