Drought, Fire Risk Conditions Worsen
By WestKyStar Staff
WESTERN KENTUCKY - The lack of spring rains have aggravated drought conditions, and are contributing to a risk of fires across the region.

As of this week the National Drought Monitor web service and the National Weather Service now report western Kentucky to be in a severe drought.  Much of southern Illinois and southeastern Missouri are considered under moderate drought conditions.

Soils continue to dry out from lack of rainfall this spring.  At the National Weather Service office in Paducah, only .19 inches of rain have fallen in May, which is 2.72 inches below normal for the month.  Paducah is almost nine inches below normal rainfall for the year so far.

Vegetation is increasingly dry for this time of year, and gusty winds combined with lower humidities can cause dangerously rapid fire growth, especially over southeast Missouri and southwestern Illinois.  

Air quality is also suffering in the region.  Air quality alerts have been issued in the last few days for the Evansville and Nashville areas.  People with respiratory diseases such as asthma may start to feel the effects of high ozone levels in these areas. 

On the Net:

Drought Monitor webpage
Paducah Weather Service webpage

Published 03:06 PM, Saturday May. 19, 2012
Updated 11:39 AM, Tuesday May. 22, 2012