Improvement in Western Kansas, But Drought Solidifies in Southeast

Several counties in Southwest Kansas saw improvement in this week’s USDA Drought Monitor, but the southeast saw more areas fall into drought. Portions of eastern Hamilton and southeastern Morton counties were upgraded from extreme to severe drought. Better, areas of severe drought are no longer present in Clark, Meade and Seward counties, along with southern Finney, southern Kearny, most of Grant, and eastern Stevens counties. 11 counties in the western half of the state saw moderate drought conditions improve to abnormally dry. Six counties in central and northern Kansas are no longer abnormally dry.

However, one area of western Kansas did see worse conditions develop in the past week. Western Cheyenne and northwestern Sherman counties fell into severe drought. Meanwhile, most of southeastern Kansas is now covered in moderate drought, stretching as far west as Sedgwick and Sumner counties and north into all of Lyon County. Drought is also present in southern Franklin and Miami counties. Abnormal dryness has crept further into Shawnee County and now lines both sides of the Kansas River from Wamego down to Kansas City.

Overall, 59.8 percent of Kansas is in some stage of dryness, a five-point improvement from last week. 7.9 percent is in severe or extreme drought, down three points. However, moderate drought now covers 29.1 percent of the state, up seven points from a week ago.