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Kentucky Level One drought declaration lifted

Recent rain raises water levels, but farmers still face issues, Commissioner Quarles says.
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By John Mura & Larry Branncock
From Commonwealth of Kentucky Energy & Environment Cabinet

FRANKFORT, KY (Wed 21 Dec 2016) - The Office of the State Climatologist and the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, in coordination with the Kentucky Drought Mitigation Team, are removing the Level One Drought Declaration that was issued for much of the state on November 10, 2016.


Following this weekend's abundant precipitation, all of the state is above normal for precipitation for the past 30 days.

Meteorological indicators suggest some residual dryness, but the demand for water this time of year is minimal which will help ease any impacts. Stream flows are currently running well above normal.

The weather outlook for the next two weeks indicates that above normal precipitation is likely to continue.

The drought contributed to an outbreak of wildfires concentrated in the eastern part of the state that burned almost 50,000 acres. Wildfires burned for several weeks due to the drought and high winds.

"Timely precipitation received in the state along with cooler temperatures have reduced the wildfire risk significantly," said Steve Kull of the Kentucky Division of Forestry. "A few wildfires have occurred in December but they were controlled quickly by division crews. The division continues to monitor for wildfires but forecasts do not indicate a major increase in fire danger."

Despite the Level One drought declaration being lifted, farmers will still continue to feel the impact of the drought for months to come.

"For livestock producers in particular, the drought's effects have limited fall pastures, forcing them to feed hay earlier than normal," said Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles. "Farmers in need of hay may go to the hay and forage sales directory on the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's website, kyagr.com, or call the Hay Hotline at (502) 782-4110."


This story was posted on 2016-12-22 05:40:17
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