U.S. Drought Monitor

In NW Kansas, Fear of Worsening Drought Conditions

Oct 8, 2015

A dry late summer in Northwest Kansas has raised concerns about a potential return to drought conditions. The latest US Drought Monitor listed the region’s drought status as “moderate,” reports Prairie Farmer.

Much of Kansas has seen enough rain to rescue wheat yields and nourish fall crops. But the stubborn northwest region has seen diminished yields of corn and soybeans. And some analysts are beginning to have concerns about next year’s winter wheat crop. 

Drought Monitor: Overall US Drying Trend Continues

Sep 28, 2015

the overall drying and warming trend continued recently, according to the most recent US Drought Monitor. Despite plentiful spring rains, drier weather over much of Texas during the summer resulted in rapidly deteriorating conditions. Showers and thunderstorms have continued to spread through northern Texas and western Oklahoma, areas mostly devoid of drought at this time. On the Plains, many farmers are awaiting more rain before planting winter wheat.


The National Drought Mitigation Center’s latest Drought Monitor has been released, and areas of southern Kansas and eastern Colorado were 2-4 degrees above normal for the week. Above-normal precipitation was confined mainly to portions of northern and eastern Kansas and western and central Nebraska, with departures of up to 3 inches above normal observed over north central Kansas. With the cooler conditions and recent rains, most of Nebraska and northwest Kansas was no longer classified as “abnormally dry.”


The big story from the U.S. Drought Monitor for our region is rain.  Recent rains are made large scale drought improvement across southwest and west central Kansas.  There’s a small area of severe drought in northwest Kansas where the recen rains haven’t been as substantial.  Oklahoma and Texas has experienced big improvements, but some residual dryness is evident.

Exceptional drought conditions have been completely eliminated from Texas and Oklahoma for the first time since July of 2012.

Boat launch fees and permits waived at Lake Meredith

Mar 26, 2015
Michael Schumacher / Amarillo Globe News

In a story from Amarillo Globe News reporter Kevin Welch, fees and permits for Lake Meredith are to be waived for the next three years as of April 1st 2015.

According to a news release from the National Park Service; the fees, which were established decades ago for maintenance costs, are no longer necessary due to upgrades and decreased visitation due to drought conditions.

Predictions that the drought is coming to an end in much of Kansas are getting skeptical responses from some weather officials reports the Wichita Eagle. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center indicates drought conditions will ease across the state disappearing in central Kansas and easing significantly in most of western Kansas. Janet Salazar is a hydrologist for the Wichita Branch of the National Weather Service. She says she doesn't know what’s driving the prediction. Larry Ruthi is the meteorologist in charge of the Dodge City branch of the weather service. He says he’s reluctant to declare the drought outlook is wrong. Jeff Hutton agrees if the present pattern continues the map is probably pretty close. The warning coordination meteorologist says even with near or above rainfall, the drought in southwest Kansas won’t be eliminated.

More rain could turn things around for farmers, but if the weather turns hot and dry, it could be a repeat of last year.


Oklahoma experienced very wet weather recently.  That seems to have improved drought conditions, but only in the southwest according to the latest updates from The U.S. Drought Monitor noted a recent article by StateImpact Oklahoma


Drought conditions expanded in the central and southern Plains where winter wheat is struggling to grow according to the U.S. Drought Monitor report released this week.

Amy Bickel / kansasagland.com

Even if you had no idea western Kansas was in the midst of a long-term drought, the scars are hard to miss.  Corrals and roads are drifted with tumbleweeds.  Irrigation ditches are bone dry.  Fence rows are filled with drifted sand, and grass in the pastures has disappeared according to a recent article from Kansas Agland.  


Drought conditions have been downgraded for portions of eastern Colorado.  


Dry conditions continue across the High Plains listening region.  Rain in southern Kansas slightly improved the abnormally dry conditions.  Heavy rains on October 26 improved conditions in the Oklahoma panhandle according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.  

Recent rains have caused flash floods, washed out farming terraces, and helped dryland crops, but the U.S. Drought Monitor says it won't change the summer outlook.