In under three months, much of the KVOE listening area has gone from abnormally dry conditions to extreme drought.
The latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor has extreme drought covering most of Lyon County, including Emporia, as well as most of Chase County, much of central Osage County and northwest Coffey and Greenwood counties. The rest of the KVOE listening area is in either moderate or severe drought.
Statewide, extreme drought -- the second-worst level on the Drought Monitor scale -- now covers over half of Kansas. Exceptional drought, the worst on the scale, is now in extreme south central and southwest Kansas.
Drought conditions have deepened rapidly across the area, also worsening despite many locations receiving an inch of rain or more over the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, seventeen Kansas counties are now eligible for drought disaster relief through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Chase and Greenwood counties are neighbors to the five primary counties in the declaration -- Butler, Kingman, Reno, Sedgwick and Harvey -- so residents in those so-called contiguous counties also qualify for help.
The counties were designated natural disaster areas Wednesday. Residents can now apply for help through the emergency loan program administrated by the Farm Service Agency and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payment program.
For information, call the Lyon-Chase County Farm Service Agency at 343-2812. You can also visit the office at 3020 West 18th or go online to www.fsa.usda.gov.