Rain and hail fell on parts of southwest, central and south central Kansas late Sunday, May 11th, 2014. Rainfall amounts varied from nothing to over five inches! The map below details the areas that received the heaviest rainfall. Click on the map for a larger version.
This precipitation event illustrates how hard it can be to predict precipitation amounts for southwestern Kansas. One storm after another developed south and southwest of Dodge City on May 11th and moved over the same locations. Parts of northwestern Ford County, including the northern periphery of Dodge City and into eastern Hodgeman and central Pawnee counties received 3 to 5 inches of rain, along with repeated hail episodes.
Meanwhile, just southeast of Dodge City and across southwestern Ford County, very little rainfall occurred. Also, little or no rain occurred from Cimarron westward across far western Kansas. Only a slight change in the position of the surface dry line, a boundary that separates warm and moist air to the east from dry air to the west, would have resulted in a shift in the heavy rainfall to the east or west.
Obviously, in this case, if the dry line had been 15 miles farther east, Dodge City would have received very little rain. Therefore, forecasts of exact rainfall amounts, especially during the thunderstorm season, cannot be given with high accuracy. However, as events get closer in time (often 1 to 2 days out), we can begin to hone in on a general area that has the highest probability of thunderstorms. But sometimes, even the day before the event, it is not possible to forecast rainfall amounts for a given town since individual storms may only affect a small area.
Click here for a table of reports that were made available. There were a number of five inch plus amounts that were received second hand that could not be verified but we are certain that over five inches fell at some locations.