Counties with the worst droughts in Kansas

Written by:
March 14, 2024
Canva

Counties with the worst droughts in Kansas

More than one-fifth of the continental U.S. is currently experiencing moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Winter storms brought heavy (in some areas, record-setting) rainfall and flooding to California, offering the state an expected two-year reprieve from widespread droughts, that covered nearly 100% of the state from 2020-22. But in other parts of the country, especially dry conditions continue. New Mexico currently is the state with the highest drought level, covering ​​88.2% of the state's area.

In periods of drought, levels of major reservoirs and rivers can fall dramatically. Groundwater systems are also affected as shrinking water supplies impact agriculture and hydropower generation while increasing wildfire risk.

Periods of drought have intensified and become more frequent in recent years due to climate change. Scientists predict that even in low-emissions scenarios, much of the U.S. will be drier by the end of the century.

Stacker cited data from the U.S. Drought Monitor to identify the counties in Kansas with the worst droughts in the week leading up to March 5, 2024. Counties are listed in order of percent of the area in drought conditions. "Abnormally dry" is not considered to be a drought, but is included as a separate data point. Additional data for the state overall is also included. Any counties which are not experiencing drought are not included in the list. Counties are listed in order of drought severity.

Kansas statistics

- Abnormally dry: 30.2%
- Area in drought: 28.7% (#9 nationally)
--- Moderate drought: 26.4%
--- Severe drought: 2.3%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Jewell County

- Abnormally dry: 24.7%
- Area in drought: 75.3%
--- Moderate drought: 73.2%
--- Severe drought: 2.1%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Trego County

- Abnormally dry: 23.1%
- Area in drought: 75.8%
--- Moderate drought: 75.8%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Decatur County

- Abnormally dry: 21.8%
- Area in drought: 78.2%
--- Moderate drought: 78.2%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Elk County

- Abnormally dry: 19.7%
- Area in drought: 80.3%
--- Moderate drought: 62.3%
--- Severe drought: 18.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Rice County

- Abnormally dry: 17.7%
- Area in drought: 82.3%
--- Moderate drought: 59.3%
--- Severe drought: 23.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Riley County

- Abnormally dry: 13.8%
- Area in drought: 86.2%
--- Moderate drought: 86.2%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Republic County

- Abnormally dry: 12.7%
- Area in drought: 87.3%
--- Moderate drought: 87.3%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Jefferson County

- Abnormally dry: 11.6%
- Area in drought: 88.4%
--- Moderate drought: 88.4%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Brown County

- Abnormally dry: 7.8%
- Area in drought: 92.2%
--- Moderate drought: 92.2%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Cloud County

- Abnormally dry: 6.3%
- Area in drought: 93.7%
--- Moderate drought: 93.7%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Mitchell County

- Abnormally dry: 5.1%
- Area in drought: 94.9%
--- Moderate drought: 79.1%
--- Severe drought: 15.9%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Pottawatomie County

- Abnormally dry: 4.8%
- Area in drought: 95.2%
--- Moderate drought: 95.2%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Allen County

- Abnormally dry: 4.1%
- Area in drought: 95.9%
--- Moderate drought: 95.9%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Graham County

- Abnormally dry: 2.9%
- Area in drought: 97.1%
--- Moderate drought: 81.2%
--- Severe drought: 15.8%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Chautauqua County

- Abnormally dry: 2.3%
- Area in drought: 97.7%
--- Moderate drought: 29.7%
--- Severe drought: 68.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Geary County

- Abnormally dry: 0.2%
- Area in drought: 99.8%
--- Moderate drought: 99.8%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Montgomery County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 83.9%
--- Severe drought: 16.1%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Saline County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Ottawa County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Jackson County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Doniphan County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Dickinson County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Clay County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

Atchison County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 100.0%
--- Severe drought: 0.0%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

McPherson County

- Abnormally dry: 0.0%
- Area in drought: 100.0%
--- Moderate drought: 72.9%
--- Severe drought: 27.1%
--- Extreme drought: 0.0%
--- Exceptional drought: 0.0%

This story features data reporting and writing by Emma Rubin and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 29 states.

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