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Barton County on drought emergency list

Governor updates drought order for Kansas counties

POSTED July 3, 2012 4:55 p.m.

TOPEKA – As drought conditions intensify in Kansas, Barton County has withered it way to the most severe drought stage as ranked by the Kansas Water Office.
The on-going conditions prompted Governor Sam Brownback Tuesday to update the Drought Declaration for Kansas counties with an executive order. The update includes all 105 counties either in an emergency, warning or watch status.
Barton County falls into the drought emergency category.
“Dry, windy and above normal temperatures in Kansas have led to a Drought Emergency declaration for 36 counties,” Governor Brownback said. “Below normal precipitation patterns are not only depleting available soil moisture, but these types of conditions have resulted in numerous fires as well.”
The updated drought declaration has 36 counties in an emergency status, 55 counties in a warning status and 14 in watch status. This action was recommended by Tracy Streeter, director of the Kansas Water Office and chair of the Governor’s Drought Response Team.
“The insidious effects of the continued drought across much of the state have caused stream flow in many areas to drop below median levels,” Streeter said. “It is imperative we monitor conditions for the state as they could deteriorate quickly with no reserves.”
It is important to also note that farmers and ranchers need to communicate with their local county emergency boards as they continue to eye crop conditions for losses from the drought and severe storms throughout the state.
This executive order remains in effect until rescinded by executive order or superseded by a subsequent executive order revising the drought stage status of the affected counties.
In addition to outlining the drought stages, the order authorizes state officials to implement the appropriate watch or warning level-drought response actions called for under the Response Team’s mandate.

How are the stages determined?
At the Barton County Commission meeting Monday, Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller cited the U.S. Drought Monitor in her request to continue the county-wide burn ban. She told the commission the county slipped from “moderate” to “severe.”
The Drought Monitor played a role in the KWO’s request for the Drought Declaration, said KWO Communications Director Katie Patterson-Ingels. “The drought stages are determined by several factors involved with the Drought Monitor.”
These include the Palmer Drought Severity Index, soil moisture, weekly stream-flow percentile, percent of normal precipitation (varying periods), the Standardized Precipitation Index (varying periods) and the Satellite Vegetation Health Index.
“We also consider water resource conditions such as stream flow, reservoir levels and water supply in general,” she said.  In addition, the look at longer-term conditions on soil and crop moisture, as well as other factors like burn bans, wildfire occurrences, etc.  

 County Drought Stage Declarations:
Drought Emergency:
Barton, Cheyenne, Decatur, Ellis, Finney, Gove, Graham, Grant, Gray, Greeley, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Kearny, Lane, Logan, Meade, Morton, Ness, Norton, Pawnee, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Seward, Sheridan, Sherman, Stanton, Stevens, Thomas, Trego, Wallace and Wichita

Drought Warning:
Allen, Anderson, Barber, Bourbon, Butler, Chase, Clark, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Comanche, Dickinson, Douglas, Edwards, Ellsworth, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Greenwood, Harper, Harvey, Jackson, Jefferson, Jewel, Johnson, Kingman, Kiowa, Leavenworth, Lincoln, Linn, Lyon, Marion, McPherson, Miami, Mitchell, Morris, Osage, Osborne, Ottawa, Pottawatomie, Pratt, Reno, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Smith, Stafford, Sumner, Wabaunsee, Washington, Woodson and Wyandotte

Drought Watch:
Atchison, Brown, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Cowley, Crawford, Doniphan, Elk, Labette, Marshall, Montgomery, Nemaha, Neosho and Wilson
For more detailed information about current conditions, see the Kansas Climate Summary and Drought Report on the Kansas Water Office website at:


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