Extreme drought continues in parts of Kansas

GARDEN CITY, Kansas – Western Kansans have been dealing with drought conditions for about three years now, so it isn’t surprising that the recent rain has lifted spirits.

“It’s put everybody in a much better mood, and we hope it keeps coming,” said Mark Rude, Executive Director at Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management.

Even with as much as nine and a half inches of rain last month in Garden City and surrounding areas, the drought drags on.

“The sad part is, some of [the rain] came so fast and furious that there’s spots that it didn’t even soak in, it just ran off,” said farmer Gary Millershaski.

The warm, windy climate makes it hard for remaining water to stick around without evaporating.

Standing water can be found throughout Western Kansas, but to end the drought soon, the area would need about 6-9 inches of rainfall in the next month.

Western Kansas should get 2-4 inches of rain in July, but because the region is so dry it needs 4 or 5 more inches on top of that.

“Getting five inches of rain at once, doesn’t have nearly the same benefit as having five one inch rains spread out over the month,” said Climatologist Mary Knapp, stating that the more spread out the rain, the better.

“The common prevailing notion is this drought will turn around one of these days, of course it usually doesn’t happen with one big event,” said Rude.

Knapp said there is a decent chance of July rains because of predicted storm and wind patterns coming from the Southwest.

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