Despite Recent Rains The Long Term Dryness Still Exists (8/29/2001)

By: Kevin Darmofal

Wichita has only received 38 percent of its normal rainfall since mid June.

Much of south central and southeast Kansas have received some much needed rainfall in the past 10 days or so. However, the area is still far behind where it should be since mid June.

After going without measurable rainfall from late July to mid August, almost 3 weeks, the Wichita Mid-continent airport has recorded 1.26 inches of rain since August 17th. This is still 1.43 inches below normal for the month of August. Looking back since June 9th, Wichita has only received 3.46 inches of rain. The normal rainfall for this 81 day period is 8.94 inches. To put it another way, Wichita has only received 38 percent of its normal rainfall since mid June.

Despite the recent rains, the long term palmer drought severity index, which is a measure of prolonged moisture deficiency or excess, has seen parts of south central Kansas go from incipient drought into the mild drought classification. In fact, all of south central and southeast Kansas are in the mild drought category. The palmer drought index categories range from extreme drought, minus 4.0 and below, to extreme moist spell, plus 4.0 and above. Areas of south central Kansas range from minus 1.2 west of Wichita, to minus 1.8 to the east of Wichita.

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.

Welcome rain has fallen across the area of late, however more significant rainfall is still needed to alleviate the longer term dry conditions which have prevailed over much of this hot summer.

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