heat wave

Kevin Willis

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear's office says another 68 counties have been declared primary disaster areas due to damage from drought. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued the declaration, which also qualifies 22 contiguous counties for assistance.

For burley tobacco farmers in Kentucky and Tennessee, an average crop being forecast is a big relief.  A few weeks ago, the crop was on the brink of ruin from extreme heat and drought. 

Kentucky's corn crop took a sharp turn for the worse during last week's record-breaking heat, and nearly half the crop is in poor condition as a drought lingers in some key producing areas.

A combination of scorching heat and drought is starting to raise anxiety levels about water supplies in some parts of Kentucky as demand grows to keep lawns green and gardens producing. The state says no water systems are experiencing supply shortages. But some communities are asking residents to voluntarily conserve water for non-essential uses such as washing vehicles and watering lawns and gardens.

Tommy Newton / WKU University Relations

State Climatologist Dr. Stuart Foster of the Kentucky Climate Center at WKU has been checking the dry conditions in several parts of Kentucky. He says the drought this year is somewhat similar to one that occurred in 2007, but it could eventually be compared to worse droughts if the dry weather continues.