DROUGHT UPDATE: Whitley Co. moves from extreme to severe

COLUMBIA CITY — While the grass is a vibrant green, and it has even become long enough for Whitley County residents to use their lawn mowers, the drought is still far from over according to experts.“It’s eased a little bit,” said David Addison, Purdue Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development. “We went from being in an extreme drought to being in a severe drought.”The four levels of drought are moderate, severe, extreme and exceptional.Addison said while the rainfall for the past month has been slightly above normal, it is not sufficient enough to take Whitley County completely out of the drought and back to normal just yet.“What most experts are saying is that we would need one inch a week for the next fifteen weeks,” said Addison.During the extreme drought, corn was highly affected, as its roots grow deep into the ground, beyond the topsoil, preventing them from receiving the amount of water necessary for proper growth. Back in mid July when rain first began to consistently fall, it also began to bring the condition of the topsoil back to normal, recharging it.According to Addison, the soybean situation has seen improvement since farmers planted soybeans later than corn and their roots do not extend as deep into the ground.“If we can keep getting some rain, we will continue to improve,” said Addison. Although the county has seen a decent amount of rain in the last five weeks, Addison said this Fall could be a little on the dry side.“Any lack of rain will cause the drought to deepen again.”Addison expects to see farmers harvesting some time next month.