Drought worries float away on above average rainfall.
MANHATTAN, Kan. –It wasn’t your imagination. It’s been raining more than usual – a lot more. May, 2015, will go down in the record books as the third wettest May since 1895, according to the Kansas Weather Data Library.
Statewide average precipitation for May in Kansas was 7.73 inches, which was 188 percent of normal, said assistant state climatologist Mary Knapp. That was enough to pull most of the state out of a five-year drought that cut crop production, forced the selloff of many of the state’s cattle and had some communities nervously watching their shrinking municipal water supplies.
At the end of May, just 6 percent of the state was in moderate drought and 67 percent was drought-free, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?KS. That’s a far different picture than just a month earlier when 91 percent of the state was still listed as abnormally dry to some level of drought.
Even more dramatic was that May precipitation, which came on top of welcome rains earlier in the spring made for vastly improved conditions from a year earlier http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/data/pngs/20140603/20140603_KS_date.png when the U.S. Drought Monitor showed virtually all of Kansas in abnormally dry to exceptional drought conditions, with a sizeable portion in the latter.
Northwest Kansas had the closest to normal rainfall during May at 113 percent of normal or an average of 3.93 inches. Southeast Kansas precipitation tallied 186 percent of normal or an average of 10.63 inches.
Manhattan, in Riley County had the highest 24-hour precipitation total on May 5 when 4.85 inches fell and flooded parts of the city.
Three all-time May record daily rainfall amounts were set, including 3.83 inches that fell on Lindsborg May 5; 3.72 inches at Overbrook on May 22; and 3.95 inches at John Redmond Reservoir on May 28.
The National Climate Prediction Center has indicated that the summer also has an increased chance to be wetter than normal.
The Kansas Weather Data Library https://www.ksre.ksu.edu/wdl/is based at Kansas State University.