Level 1 drought declared for western Kentucky

The above map shows areas of the state under Level 1 drought declaration (lighter colors) and Level 2 drought declaration.

Contributed map

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Office of the State Climatologist have issued a Level 1 drought declaration for 42 counties, including all of western Kentucky.

A Level 1 declaration indicates moderate to severe drought conditions primarily affecting soil moisture and vegetative health. Serious impacts to agricultural water needs, an increased wildfire risk, abnormally low flows in streams and resultant water quality issues can be expected in these designated areas.

The state has been experiencing unprecedented dryness, with most locations recording little to no precipitation in September. The lack of precipitation, combined with record heat, has led to rapidly deteriorating conditions.

Matt Dixon of the University of Kentucky Ag Weather Center said data at the weather center showed the state averaged only 0.28 inches of rain in September.