Standing water in corn field
STANDING WATER: Much of the just-emerged corn crop was in fields where standing water in all the low spots was common in early May.

Kansas finally drought-free but facing opposite extreme

All regions of the state free of drought, even stubborn Northwest; many areas now too wet.

For the first time in a long time, there are no drought conditions in Kansas and almost no drought in Nebraska or Oklahoma.

That's not to say there isn't some pretty wacky weather. From a very late, short winter to the end-of-April blizzard that dumped more than a foot of snow on much of western Kansas, the weather has been erratic, to say the least.

As is often the case in Kansas, there is either one extreme or another. So, in the absence of drought — the entire state is white on the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map — there is an excess of moisture and even flooding conditions over much of the state, especially southern and southeastern Kansas where flood warnings have been more frequent that tornado warnings in April and May.

Flooded streams in southern Kansas left wide swaths of wheat fields in standing water long enough to kill them. Newly planted fields of corn have been washed out, and thousands of acres of crops that would have been planted in April still had not been planted by May 10.

In Wichita, rainfall for March, April and up to May 10 was 13.19 inches compared to normal for those three months of 6.57. In Chanute in southeast Kansas, the total for March, April and up to May 10 was 14.68 inches, above normal by 7.65 inches.

Dodge City was also wet with 11.20 inches for the period, compared to a normal 7 inches, while Garden City had more than double its average 3 inches of rain for the spring period with 6.40 inches.

Even northwest Kansas, where drought has been severe and lingering, is now wetter than most farmers would like it to be. Much of the moisture in that region has come from the freak blizzard at the very end of April. Rainfall measured at Goodland for the period from March 1 to May 10 totaled 5.69 inches, more than double the normal 2.26 inches.

If the 90-day forecast for May, June and July is correct, however, Kansas may soon be wishing it had a way to store the copious rain that has flowed down rivers and streams headed, eventually, for the Gulf of Mexico.

The forecast calls for above-average temperatures for the coming 90 days for the entire state and an equal chance of above- or below-normal rainfall.

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