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The Division of Water continuously monitors hydrologic conditions throughout the state to detect emerging drought conditions, to identify the locations and severity of drought and to provide timely and appropriate public notification. Most often drought is defined by a combination of several definitions for increasing drought severity that are based on meteorological, agricultural, hydrological and socioeconomic effects.

A set of primary drought indicators is monitored to maintain a continuous evaluation of the climatic and hydrologic status in the state. The primary drought indicators selected for this purpose include, but are not limited to:

  • Precipitation deficits
  • Stream flows
  • Soil moisture
  • Reservoir storage
  • The Drought Monitor 

Screenshot of the Kentucky Drought Viewer

The Division developed the Kentucky Drought Viewer, an interactive map that displays drought conditions and drought and water shortage declarations issued by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.



The information and data provided by the entities listed below are used to track, monitor and assess drought throughout the state:

US Drought Monitor
The drought monitor of the National Drought Mitigation Center identifies areas of drought based on a five-stage intensity classification system.

Kentucky Mesonet
A network of automated weather and climate monitoring stations being developed by the Kentucky Climate Center at Western Kentucky University to serve diverse needs in communities across the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

KY Climate Center
Created in 1978 under a memorandum of agreement among Western Kentucky University, the National Weather Service, and the National Climatic Data Center.

UK Ag Weather Center
Information is provided by the National Weather Service, National Climatic Center, Midwest Regional Center, and Kentucky Mesonet, as well as various information generated by the AWC Staff using the Geographic Information System (GIS) in the Ag Weather Center.

Midwest Climate Watch
The Midwest Climate Watch includes daily, 7-day, 30-day, and month-to-date maps of temperature, precipitation, snowfall, snow depth, and growing degree days, as well as maps for prior months and seasons.  Information and resources for the region about drought, agriculture and horticulture, and the Great Lakes.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration- Climate
A source of timely and authoritative scientific data and information about climate.

National Drought Mitigation Center
Develops and implements measures to reduce societal vulnerability to drought.

National Weather Service – Precipitation Analysis
Daily precipitation analysis from the National Weather Service’s advanced hydrologic prediction service.

National Weather Service- Central Region Headquarters
Provides weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.

Historic Palmer Drought Indices
Monthly maps of drought conditions in the contiguous U.S. as measured by the Palmer Drought Index.

Palmer Drought Severity Index
Depicts prolonged (months, years) abnormal dryness or wetness.

National Weather Service – Climate Prediction Center
Products are operational predictions of climate variability, real-time monitoring of climate and the required data bases, and assessments of the origins of major climate anomalies.

US Drought Portal 
Weekly drought reports and data for the Midwestern region.

US Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District Daily Lake Reports
Daily Lake conditions for projects under control of the US Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District.

US Army Corps of Engineers Huntington District Current Lake Conditions 
Daily Lake conditions for projects under control of the US Army Corps of Engineers Huntington District.

US Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Lakes
Daily Lake conditions for projects under control of the US Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District.

Midwestern Regional Climate Center
Modeled soil moisture and departure from normal for 12 inch and 72 inches soil depths.

USGS Water Watch
Map of real-time streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the day of the year.

High Plains Regional Climate Center
Provides up to date climate maps and monitoring for the region.



In fulfillment of the directive of Senate Joint Resolution 109, the Energy and Environment Cabinet, in consultation with the Drought Mitigation and Response Advisory Council, developed the Kentucky Drought Mitigation and Response Plan [PDF, 258 KB],  published December 31, 2008.

Kentucky Mesonet Site

​For more information contact:

Edward “Chip” Zimmer
Environmental Scientist
502-782-7141

Bill Caldwell
Environmental Scientist
502-782-6906