Drought Worsens Despite Recent Rain

Latest Rainfall Not Factored Into Drought Monitor Data

The rain some areas have gotten the past few days may have put a dent in the drought, but the latest figures from the U.S. Drought Monitor showed the situation worsening.

A quarter of the state is now in an exceptional drought situation, the worst on the scale of drought severity. That area includes parts of Indiana west and southwest of Indianapolis.

About 69 percent of Indiana is in at least severe drought. That includes all areas except a portion of far eastern, far northwestern and far southern Indiana.

The entire state is in some degree of drought.

The past couple of days of rain are not factored into the latest data, which had a cutoff time of 7 a.m. Tuesday. However, rainfall over the past weekend did factor in.

The Indianapolis area got about an inch and a half of rain from Wednesday night through Thursday morning. Some areas got more and other areas got less. It didn't rain at all in some parts of central Indiana.

Some crops have shown a response to the recent rain, RTV6's Derrik Thomas reported.

At Ken Simpson's Shelby County farm, where he grows corn and soybeans, .2 inches of rain fell early Thursday morning.

Simpson told Thomas he is cautiously optimistic about his soybean crop.

"Here they are still green and flat," Simpson said about his soybeans. "The extra moisture will fill those out even further."

Simpson's corn crop is not faring so well, though. At this point in the season, the corn would usually be about 10 feet tall. This year, it's only 6 feet tall.

"With regard to the corn, we are pretty much writing that off for the season," Shelby County extension service educator Scott Gabbard said. "We are going to have a corn crop, but it's not near what it should be, and what it has been in the past."

The corn has sustained wildlife damage from birds and raccoons hungry for food. The corn is weak, and Simpson demonstrated how the cobs were falling off into his hands.

Some of the losses will be offset by crop insurance, but there are high deductibles. And there is the ominous specter that if at harvest, certain diseases are present, the corn will be worthless.

Citizens Water said the water levels of all three reservoirs that feed into Indianapolis' water supply rose slightly Thursday morning and are expected to climb more.

"Although today's heavy rain is providing very significant benefits to area reservoir levels, it is likely to take several weeks of rainfall to restore water levels to normal," said Citizens Water spokeswoman Sarah Holsapple. "Citizens Water expects to keep water use restrictions in place for the foreseeable future."

Water consumption is down to about 145 million gallons daily in August, the utility said.

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