By Jeff Fox
All that rain last week helped.
It’s still a dry year, but the record rainfall on Sept. 19 has pushed off a drought designation for the area.
“It absolutely helped. It got us back on rainfall levels,” said meteorologist Dan Hawblitzel of the National Weather Service office in Pleasant Hill.
The Weather Service recorded 2.58 inches of rain at Kansas City International Airport, a record for Sept. 19 and the most rain in a single day in Kansas City more than four years. The area got 3.15 inches on Aug. 17, 2009.
Unofficially, the Weather Service says, Independence got 2.49 inches on Sept. 19, and the downtown airport got 2.91 inches.
Through Thursday, KCI had had 4.44 inches of rain in September, about one-third of an inch above normal. For the year, KCI is at 27.11 inches, which is 4.35 inches shy of normal.
“We keep getting into wet spurts followed by dry spurts,” Hawblitzel said.
Of course, this comes after 2012, the third driest year in 125 years of official records, and the two-year period of 2012-13 is still in line to be one of the driest on record.
This week’s updated U.S. Drought Monitor shows Jackson County to be in “abnormally dry,” the lowest of the five-step drought scale that federal officials use. For several weeks, the northeast edge of the county had been rated one step up – “moderate drought.”
All or parts of 25 counties in northern Missouri – Grant City southeast to Brunswick and northeast to Kahoka – are in “severe drought,” the third step on that scale. Parts of western Kansas and Nebraska and a small area near Fort Dodge, Iowa, are in “extreme drought,” and only a few pockets around the country – southwest Oklahoma, southeast Colorado, western Nevada – are in “exceptional drought.”