It's No Drought Breaker, But At Least It Rained

Overnight 0.6 inches of rain helps but drought persists and water shortages are real threat moving into spring

It wasn’t much and it’s way too warm for the end of January, but the Wichita area finally got a shower of more than welcome rain on Saturday night and into Sunday – a total of about 0.6 inches in fact. It’s no drought breaker but it sure does help.

On the positive front of the warm temperatures, we didn’t have to deal with the ice that my brother tells me is a real hassle on the family farm in northeast Missouri. The flip side of that is with temperatures in the 60s and 70s – yep that’s right, 75 is the forecast high for today, the little bit of moisture we did get won’t last long.

The U.S. Drought Monitor showed conditions getting just a little bit worse in Kansas last week. The good thing is this is the traditional dry season of the year and nothing is growing, which means that just about any rain we do get soaks right in and the dry weather isn’t doing a lot of damage with everything dormant anyway.

What we really could have used was a hard enough downpour for some runoff to get into lakes and reservoirs. That didn’t even come close to happening. The city of Wichita has become aware that a drought is going on – they are beginning to talk about the possibility of water use restrictions, though the word is it may be months before decisions are made.

Forecasters are calling for a cold snap around mid-week, with highs cooling down into the lower 40s and overnight temperatures dropping below freezing – but a warm-up back into the upper 50s by the end of the week.

Even as cities begin the conversation about how to handle potential water shortages if drought continues into summer, most Kansas farmers are holding out hope that the winter wheat crop still has a chance if we get rain in the next 90 days. If we don’t, well, as my dad used to tell me “don’t borrow trouble; it’s likely enough to find you even if you aren’t looking for it.”

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