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Nearly All of Kentucky is Now Officially a "Drought Disaster Area"

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated another 68 Kentucky counties, including Jefferson, as drought disaster areas.With the new drought declaration, Bell, Harlan, Leslie and Perry counties are the only Kentucky counties not officially in a drought. These counties are all clustered in the southeast part of the state.University of Kentucky meteorologist Matt Dixon says the drought has been months in the making.“And going into February, all the way into June, the entire state as a whole was below average on precipitation,” he said. “Going into July, most of the state did see improvement especially central and eastern portions, but the west continued to stay dry.”Dixon says there’s little relief on the horizon, especially for western Kentucky. Precipitation is still expected to be low next month, and some meteorologists are predicting an El Niño. This would mean a milder—and dryer—winter than usual.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.