Drought Conditions In Kansas, Oklahoma Some Of Worst In Country

Experts say parts of Osage and Washington Counties are in an extreme drought, and parts of Chautauqua and Montgomery Counties in Kansas are in an exceptional drought.

Friday, October 20th 2023, 9:16 pm



People living in parts of northeastern Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas are dealing with water restrictions caused by a significant drought.

But they hope relief could come soon.

Experts say parts of Osage and Washington Counties are in an extreme drought, and parts of Chautauqua and Montgomery Counties in Kansas are in an exceptional drought.

Drought Monitor

In Caney, Kansas, it’s about to become the worst drought in 71 years.

Some counties in northeast Oklahoma and southeast Kansas face potentially dangerous drought conditions.

"We've had some adequate rainfall this year in parts of the state; in fact, most of the state is not that far behind what is normal for a year,” said Wes Lee, the Mesonet Agriculture Coordinator at Oklahoma State University. “The problem is it's been several months since we've had some significant rain."

This is because the past few years have been La Nina years, which means less rain than usual.

It’s a problem across the state, especially in areas that rely on aquifers and well water.

State Representative Carl Newton is holding a study in the legislature next week to look at how Oklahomans use water and how they can help.

"I think we need to be looking at making ourselves good stewards of the water that we do have and make sure that we are proactive rather than reactive when we don't have water,” said Newton.

Our Oklahoma weather experts say while this drought isn’t breaking records right now, it’s one of the worst in the country.

"Compared to across the country, they're not in a record for how long they've been in exceptional drought, but right now, they're one of the longest-running exceptional drought locations in the country,” said Stacia Knight.

Meteorologist Stacia Knight says storms could come next week and help this area.

"We do have hope in the forecast that our weather pattern is changing next week,” said Knight. “And it will bring in chances for rain, but where exactly those beneficial rains will fall, we still have to get closer and analyze more data."

Some towns like Caney, Kansas have enacted mandatory water restrictions to try to get water usage under control.

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