Exceptional Drought Now Occurring In Southwest Kansas

Portions of three southwestern Kansas counties have now entered the worst drought stage. USDA’s Drought Monitor for this week has a majority of Morton County, along with southwesternmost Stanton and west-central Stevens counties, in exceptional drought. This comes as drought conditions have lingered in the area for nine months, and have worsened in other parts of the state. The remainder of Stevens County has entered extreme drought, as has western and southern Seward County. This brings the total area of the state in extreme or exceptional drought to 5.8 percent. It remains much worse in Colorado, where exceptional drought has also appeared in eastern Baca and southwestern Prowers counties, and two-thirds of that state is now in some stage of drought.

Moderate drought conditions have now emerged in southeast Kansas, with Cherokee and Crawford counties entering drought. More of south-central Kansas entered abnormally dry stage this week, with newly affected areas stretching from Sedgwick and eastern Harvey counties to the remainder of Labette and Neosho counties. 29.74 percent of Kansas is in some stage of drought, and another 34.4 percent of the state is abnormally dry.

There were two areas of improvement this week. Abnormally dry conditions disappeared from Graham and eastern Sheridan counties in northwest Kansas, as well as western Edwards, northeastern Ford, and southeastern Hodgeman counties in the southwest.