Whitesburg KY

Burning ban lifted here

A 24-hour ban on outdoor burning has been lifted in Letcher County, but it remains illegal to burn within 150 feet of a woodland or brush land from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until December 15 – the end of the fire hazard season in Kentucky.

Letcher County Judge/Executive Jim Ward announced the lifting of the 24-hour burning ban on November 16, two days after relatively heavy rains fell on the county.

Meanwhile, a water shortage warning remained in effect this week for all or portions of Letcher, Harlan, and Magoffin counties, where water supplies are dependent on small headwater streams, small lakes or water storage in abandoned underground mineworks. Those water supplies remain below normal winter level.

Recent rainfall amounts in eastern Kentucky were sufficient to provide some short-term improvements to stream flows, but many small water supply reservoirs remain several feet below normal.

The most severe annual rainfall deficits (13 to 18 inches) persist in headwater areas of the Kentucky, Cumberland and Licking rivers. These areas remain under conditions of extreme to exceptional hydrologic drought.

Water shortage watches and warnings remain in effect for large portions of central and southeastern Kentucky due to a persistent deficit in rainfall and its impacts to the following types of water:

• Surface water obtained from small headwater streams.

• Surface sources relying on storage in small lakes or abandoned mineworks.

• All sources in the watch/ warning area relying on groundwater.

• Surface sources relying on rivers that are fed from rainfall and runoff from headwater areas in eastern Kentucky.

Long-term outlooks from the National Weather Service indicate a warmer than normal winter with normal chances for precipitation early and slightly better chances for above normal precipitation going into January 2008. Normal or even slightly below normal winter precipitation could help relieve the drought conditions in the water shortage watch/warning area.

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