HOW DRY HAS IT BEEN ACROSS THE WICHITA AREA? (1/13/2002)

By: Kevin Darmofal

Although nice for outdoor activities, the mild and dry weather continues to worsen the drought conditions across south central Kansas.

Wichita experienced another sunny and mild day in the middle of Winter with a high of 61 degrees. Although nice for outdoor activities, the mild and dry weather continues to worsen the drought conditions across south central Kansas.

The beginning of the dry spell began back in the very hot month of July, which saw the mercury reach or exceed 100 degrees on 17 days. Since July 1st, the Wichita area has only received 8.03 inches of precipitation. The normal amount of precipitation during this period is 15.19 inches. To put it another way, the Wichita area has only received 53 percent of its normal average rainfall during that 6-plus month period.

The long term Palmer Drought Severity Index, which is a measure of prolonged moisture deficiency or excess, classified Wichita and south central Kansas in the moderate 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. The index for south central Kansas was a minus 2.3 through last week.

January and February are rather dry months during a typical year, and the latest forecast for the upcoming week does not hold much promise for significant rain or snowfall either. Therefore the drought conditions are likely to persist at least until the early Spring.

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



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