Ample rainfall along and south of Highway 54 last week allowed a large portion of southern Kansas to exit abnormally dry or even drought conditions. USDA’s weekly drought monitor indicates that all or part of 25 counties are no longer in dry conditions. The most dramatic improvement was seen in an area stretching from eastern Stevens to southwestern Barber counties. The moderate drought patch in Central Kansas has retreated north, exiting almost all of Sedgwick County, while a patch in eastern Kansas is contained to five counties south of Kansas City and Lawrence. One-sixth of Kansas is no longer abnormally dry or in drought.
Unfortunately, it’s the opposite story in northern Kansas, which saw all or part of 19 counties enter moderate drought. It’s an extension of drought conditions that have grown in southern Nebraska and northwesternmost Missouri over the past month. Severe drought also expanded east along the Nebraska border into Phillips and Smith counties. In total, 35.2 percent of the state is in moderate drought, while another 8.6 percent is in severe drought. Extreme drought conditions along the Colorado border were unchanged.