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3 western Ky. counties still not clear of drought conditions

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Despite recording nearly three-quarters of an inch of rain over the past week, three counties in western Kentucky have not been cleared from drought conditions in the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report issued Thursday morning.

Portions of Ballard, Livingston, and McCracken counties along the Ohio River remain "Abnormally Dry," the lowest category of drought.

Those areas included make up 1.08% of Kentucky's land area, and represent just a small change from the Thursday, Jan. 12 report, which had 1.11% of the state listed as abnormally dry. See the map that accompanies this story.

The National Weather Service has reported 1.19 inches of rain in Paducah (the only official reporting station in the three counties) since Tuesday morning, which is when the data is collected for the Thursday report, so an improvement is expected next week.

If you go back a month, the December 20, 2022, report showed 5.87% of Kentucky was in Moderate Drought, D1 in the scale that goes from D0 (Abnormally Dry) to D4 (Exceptional Drought). 60.27% was D0, and only 33.86% was considered to have no drought.

The deepest drought conditions in the state over the past six months were reported on October 25. 4.94% of Kentucky was D3, or Extreme Drought. 34.17% was D2, or Severe Drought; 43.11% was listed as D1; 16.87% as D0 and 0.91% with no drought. Western Kentucky, especially the Purchase Region, suffered the worst from the drought conditions during this time, although the entire state was affected to some degree.

On the other end of the scale, the last time Kentucky was 100% drought free was March 29, 2022.

The National Weather Service says during the period January 21-25, the forecast calls for a storm system to track from the central Plains to the Northeast, bringing strong winds and wintry weather to the northern regions and rain to the south. From January 25-31, below-normal temperatures can be expected over most of the country. Most of the U.S. can expect near- to slightly above-normal precipitation.

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