Division of Water
Level 1 Drought Declared in 24 Western Kentucky Counties

Press Release Date:  Thursday, September 02, 2010  
Contact Information:  Dr. Stuart Foster, 270-745-5983, State Climatologist and
Bill Caldwell, 502-564-3410, Division of Water

The Office of the State Climatologist and the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, in coordination with the Kentucky Drought Mitigation Team (KDMT), are issuing a Level I Drought Declaration for three drought management areas (DMAs) in western Kentucky.

Counties within the Level I drought declaration areas include:

Purchase DMA:  Fulton, Hickman, Carlisle, Ballard, McCracken, Graves, Marshall, Calloway.

Pennyrile DMA:  Livingston, Crittenden, Lyon, Caldwell, Hopkins, Trigg, Christian, Muhlenberg, Todd.

Green River DMA: Union, Webster, Henderson, McLean, Daviess, Hancock, Ohio.


A Level I drought indicates moderate drought conditions have developed primarily affecting soil moisture and vegetative health. Serious impacts to agricultural water needs, wildfire risk and other water-sensitive sectors can be expected in the designated areas.

Most of Kentucky’s potable water supply sources are currently at acceptable levels. Stream flows are generally low but within a normal range for September. Isolated areas of serious low flow have been observed in the middle and upper Green River and Salt River basins, including Rolling Fork in Nelson County, Pond Creek in Jefferson County and West Fork Drakes Creek in Simpson County.

Drought conditions have been developing in western Kentucky with precipitation totals of only 50 to 60 percent of normal for several consecutive months.  Areas to the east have also developed abnormally dry conditions in pockets due to the isolated nature of summertime thunderstorms. 

The long-term outlook and seasonal climatology suggest the likelihood of continued drought in the west and expansion of the dry pockets eastward.  Persistent drought increases the likelihood of adverse impacts to potable water sources, livestock feed and water sources, and urban landscapes. The Kentucky Drought Management Team will continue to monitor drought development and advise the public of changes in Kentucky’s drought status.

The state Drought Mitigation and Response Plan defines a tiered approach to classifying drought severity using multiple “indicators” to assess the intensity and location of developing drought. These indicators include the Drought Monitor, Palmer Drought Index, Crop Moisture Index and precipitation and stream flow measurements.

More information about drought declaration criteria can be found in the Kentucky Drought Mitigation and Response Plan at http://water.ky.gov/wa/Pages/DroughtMitigationRAC.aspx.