JUST HOW DRY HAS IT BEEN IN WICHITA LATELY ? (8/13/2001)

By: Kevin Darmofal

THE LAST TIME MEASURABLE RAINFALL WAS REPORTED AT THE MID-CONTINENT AIRPORT WAS 17 DAYS AGO.

THERE HAS BEEN MUCH TALK ABOUT THE RECENT HEAT WAVE IN WICHITA AND MUCH OF THE MIDWEST AND FOR GOOD REASON. HOWEVER THE HEAT HAS ALSO BEEN ACCOMPANIED BY A RATHER DRY STRETCH OF WEATHER AS WELL, ACROSS PARTS OF THE AREA. SINCE JUNE 9TH, WICHITA HAS ONLY RECEIVED 2.20 INCHES OF RAINFALL. THE NORMAL RAINFALL FOR THAT 65 DAY PERIOD IS 7.34 INCHES, WHICH IS A DEFICIT OF 5.14 INCHES. TO PUT IT ANOTHER WAY, WICHITA HAS ONLY RECEIVED ABOUT 30 PERCENT OF ITS NORMAL RAINFALL OVER THE PAST TWO PLUS MONTHS.

THE LAST TIME MEASURABLE RAINFALL WAS REPORTED AT THE MID-CONTINENT AIRPORT WAS 17 DAYS AGO ON JULY 27TH, WHEN .42 INCHES OF RAIN FELL. THE DRY SPELL HAS RESULTED IN GREEN LAWNS TURNING INCREASINGLY YELLOW-BROWN ACROSS THE AREA, WITH STRESS TO CROPS AND VEGETATION.

THE PALMER DROUGHT SEVERITY INDEX, WHICH IS A MEASURE OF PROLONGED MOISTURE DEFICIENCY OR EXCESS, HAS PLACED PARTS OF SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST KANSAS IN THE CATEGORIES RANGING FROM, INCIPIENT TO MILD DROUGHT. THE PALMER DROUGHT CATEGORIES RANGE FROM EXTREME DROUGHT, MINUS 4.0 AND BELOW, TO EXTREME MOIST SPELL, PLUS 4.0 AND ABOVE. AREAS FROM WICHITA EASTWARD INTO SOUTHEAST KANSAS RATED A MINUS 1.3 IN THE PERIOD ENDING THE FIRST WEEK OF AUGUST, WHICH IS IN THE MILD DROUGHT CATEGORY.

INPUT TO THE PALMER INDEX INCLUDE THE WEEKLY PRECIPITATION TOTALS ACROSS A GIVEN CLIMATE REGION AND THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE. OTHER PARAMETERS AND CONSTANTS DEALING WITH THE SOIL MOISTURE ARE ALSO CONSIDERED IN THE CALCULATIONS.

ALTHOUGH THERE IS A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN TUESDAY NIGHT AND WEDNESDAY, THE OVERALL WEATHER PATTERN STILL LOOKS DRY INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK. IF THE DRY CONDITIONS CONTINUE, ANOTHER STATEMENT WITH AN UPDATE TO THE PALMER INDEX WILL BE ISSUED WITHIN THE NEXT WEEK.

This story was brought to you by the National Weather Service - Wichita, Kansas.



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