As forecasters issue warnings that the Midwest drought is only going to get worse, a ban on open burning remains in effect throughout Huntington County.
City residents are encouraged to conserve water, but no mandatory water conservation measures are in effect.
A ban on open burning throughout Huntington County will remain in effect through Friday, July 20.
This marks the fifth week a burn ban has been in effect locally. The ban was initially enacted on June 15 and has been extended weekly.
"The conditions still have not improved enough to permit open burning," says Huntington Fire Marshal Leon Hurlburt, who also serves as a Huntington County commissioner.
He and fellow commissioners Tom Wall and Kathy Branham agreed on July 13, the date the previous burn ban was set to expire, to extend the ban through July 20. The burn ban will be reconsidered on that date.
Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters says the city's water supply is holding steady.
Fetters continues to encourage Huntington residents to voluntarily conserve water - a request issued July 9 at the urging of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources - but said on July 12 that there's no need for any mandatory restrictions at this time.
"We are asking people to use common sense, but there's no mandatory order," Fetters says.
The city's wells are holding steady and the water towers remain full, he says, adding that he and other city officials are monitoring water levels.
In Indianapolis, where reservoir levels are dropping, a watering ban went into effect on Friday, July 13.
The dry weather has also resulted in a burn ban in most Indiana counties, including Huntington County.
Huntington County is in an area that is experiencing "extreme drought," the second highest level of drought classified by the National Weather Service.
In a statement issued July 12, NWS forecasters say there's no improvement in sight, with dry weather and high temperatures expected at least through the end of July.
"This regional drought will persist or intensify," the NWS says, and will be accompanied by a diminishing water supply, lower crop yields and more stress on livestock.
"Catastrophic economic losses are already being reported for this growing season," the NWS says.
Several wells in Nappanee have run dry, the NWS says, and the water levels of many rivers and streams are dropping.
"The headwater portions of the Tippecanoe, Salamonie and Mississinewa rivers may run dry," the NWS says. Salamonie Lake is 14.1 feet below normal summer levels and Mississnewa Lake is 5.2 feet below normal summer pool, the NWS says.
Rainfall totals for the Fort Wayne area since the first of the year are 9.44 inches below normal. Precipitation levels began dropping below normal levels in April, according to NWS records, and continue to remain well below normal.
It's in line to become one of the worst droughts on record, the NWS says, with only 11.01 inches of precipitation recorded in the Fort Wayne area during the first six months of the year. Similar dry spells were experienced in 1934, 1941 and 1988, the NWS says.