The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor map shows something not seen in Kansas for the last several years -- none of the state in severe drought and only a tiny circle in northwest Kansas is even in abnormally dry to moderate drought.
After record-breaking rain in May and a wetter-than-normal June, the drought has eased to the point where Gov. Sam Brownback has updated the Drought Declaration for Kansas counties.
For the past year all 105 counties have either been in an emergency, warning or watch status. Now, the majority of the state is drought-free and 33 Kansas counties have been downgraded to a watch drought status.
“Kansans need to know recent rains have greatly improved conditions in our state, but the effects of drought remain evident,” said Brownback. “Some areas have been experiencing drought for almost six years and will need many years to completely recover. While conditions are improved, we must remain mindful of the importance of water and continue to be aware of water usage. ”
The updated declaration has removed 72 counties from drought status and downgrades 33 into a watch status. This action was recommended by Tracy Streeter, Director of the Kansas Water Office and Chair of the Governor’s Drought Response Team.
“While there have been some historic rain events this past month, we are not going to take our eye off of drought planning and future mitigation,” said Streeter. “As we start to enter into warmer drier months of the year, we know drought conditions can return quickly.”
Counties remaining in watch are: Barton, Cheyenne, Decatur, Ellis, Finney, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Lane, Logan, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stanton, Stevens, Thomas, Trego, Wallace, Wichita
For more detailed information about current conditions, see the Kansas Climate Summary and Drought Report on the Kansas Water Office website at: www.kwo.org . Please note this is separate from the 2015 USDA Secretarial Drought Disaster declaration which is based on agricultural losses.