Governor updates drought emergency, warnings and watches in Kansas counties
Special to the HDN
TOPEKA -- Extreme drought conditions continue for western Kansas while central and eastern counties see improvement. This has led Gov. Sam Brownback to update the Drought Declaration for Kansas counties with an Executive Order 13-02 today. For the first time since July 2012, conditions have improved enough to remove or decrease the emergency drought status for some Kansas counties.
"We are thankful recent rains have helped remove 23 counties from a drought designation," Brownback said. "Unfortunately, our state continues to battle drought as most of the state remains in some level of drought status."
The updated drought declaration has moved 20 counties into a warning status and 25 into a watch status while 37 counties continue to be in emergency. This action was recommended by Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office and Chair of the Governor's Drought Response Team.
Northwest Kansas county drought stage declarations:
* Drought emergency: Cheyenne, Decatur, Ellis, Gove, Graham, Greeley, Logan, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Russell, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Thomas, Trego and Wallace.
* Drought warning: Rush.
"Our focus is to ensure communities, livestock producers and farmers have the available resources they need," Streeter said. "With most federal reservoirs refilling and streamflow restored by rains over the past few weeks, the concerns have lessened, however we remain very cautious as we compare where we are today to last year based on total soil moisture and precipitation amounts. Some areas of western Kansas are behind more than 10 inches in soil moisture."
For more, visit www.kwo.org.