Drought Continues Spreading East, But Relief For Some

Two more counties are in extreme drought, and while more areas of Kansas have entered moderate drought or abnormally dry conditions, a sizable portion of north central Kansas saw improvement.

5.1 percent of Kansas is now dealing with extreme drought according to the weekly USDA Drought Monitor.  Most of Stevens and southern Greeley counties is now included in the area worse impacted. The area of severe drought, though, decreased following an improvement in conditions in Lane County. A majority of Gove County improved to abnormally dry conditions, along with areas of Graham, Osborne, Rooks and Sheridan counties that had been dealing with drought conditions. The northern half of Ellis, Russell, and Trego counties also exited the first drought stage.

However, the total area impacted by moderate drought in Kansas increased four points to 22.3 percent. That’s as a result of drought appearing in Jewell and Smith counties, as well as Barber, Harper, Kiowa, and Sumner counties, eastern Ford, western Cowley, and southwestern Pratt counties. Two areas of Kansas developed abnormally dry conditions, the larger one spanning from Marion and southern Dickinson counties southeast into Coffey, western Woodson, and northwestern Wilson counties. Linn County has also slipped into pre-drought conditions.

Neighboring states have also witnessed worsening conditions. Almost a third of Colorado is now in extreme drought, while 40 percent of Oklahoma is in moderate or worse drought. Severe drought has doubled in Texas, still contained to the panhandle. Drought has peaked into Nebraska’s Webster County from across the state line, and abnormally dry conditions have appeared in Missouri for just the second time in eight months.