From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Drought Continues in Kentucky

Hoping for a wet winter



Christian County, Kentucky, like most of the state, is still in desperate need of rain. All of Kentucky is experiencing severe, extreme, or exceptional drought. Our county is in the extreme drought category, about 12 inches below normal in rainfall at present.

A recent headline in the Kentucky New Era summarizes the sad story of the harvest: "Corn yields down 50 percent, tobacco down 30 percent, soybeans devastated."

A cold front is bringing us a shower tonight, and we're thankful for it. I hope it rains all night. Some farmers have sowed their winter wheat, and this little shower should help it germinate.

I imagine the firefighters are as thankful for rain as the farmers are. Our volunteer fire departments have had a hard summer of field and forest fires.

A recent article in the Kentucky New Era described the toll that constant fire-fighting has taken on the equipment of the volunteer fire departments. Most of them use older equipment that requires ongoing repair, even in the best of times.

Our burn ban in Christian County had been lifted after we received a little rain, but now has been re-imposed. In fact, there's a burn ban across the entire state.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has set up a website and hotline for farmers who are buying or selling hay. I've met several big loads of hay on our little highway recently, apparently going to a farm in our area.

There is a bit of good news about the weather. We're supposed to have a "La Niña winter," and in Kentucky, that typically means a wet, mild winter.

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4 comments:

Mark said...

As you know, we in northwest Georgia are also in a very bad drought. One of the rivers that my home town draws its water from is at its lowest flow in the record - since 1939. Officials say Atlanta has at most four months of water left in its supply and the state is now threatening to sue the Corps of Engineers to stop releasing water from Atlanta's main source. Unfortunately, there are people and wildlife downstream that need water, too. We live on a mountain and get our water from a well. We are wondering what we'll do if we get lower-than-normal rain this winter. Continued drought is predicted through late spring. Bad times.

Genevieve said...

All of that is serious indeed. I would send you rain today, if only I could.

After reading that hopeful article about the La Niña bringing winter rains last night, I read in a long-range weather forecast for Kentucky that the drought is likely to continue here over the winter. I hope they're wrong.

Limey said...

Last year we had a drought over here and in certain parts (in cluding my area) there were severe water saving measures introduced. Earlier in the year we were told that the long range forecast predicted one of the hottest summers on record but instead we had one of the wettest and the water table was back to near normal levels by late spring. So don't trust the long range forecasts they can be wrong!

Genevieve said...

Good point, Limey. I suppose there's still a "best guess" factor in long-range forecasting, even with the most modern equipment and methods. That helps explain why the Farmer's Almanac forecast turns out to be at least partially right every now and then.

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