All that rain adds up.
Wednesday night’s heavy rains, with more expected this weekend, have put a big dent in the area’s rainfall deficit.
“Pretty impressive rain event on Wednesday!” is how the National Weather Service office in Pleasant Hill termed it on Facebook. The 3.53 inches of rain recorded at Kansas City International Airport, where the official measurements for Kansas City are gauged, set a record for Aug. 6.
Weather Service meteorologist Joey Welsh said most of Jackson County got 2 inches or so, though there were reports of much more than that in places.
It’s been a wet summer. As of Friday, the Weather Service had recorded 10.64 inches of rain at KCI since June 1, which is 3.53 inches above normal. Still, for the year KCI is at 24.47 inches, which is 1.68 inches shy of normal. This comes after 2012-2013 was one of the driest two-year periods on record.
“It’s not too bad, but it’s still abnormally dry,” Welsh said.
The National Drought Mitigation Center uses a five-step scale – “abnormally dry” through “exceptional drought” – on its drought monitor, which is updated weekly. Missouri has shown steady progress away from drought. Officially, there is no drought virtually anywhere north of the Missouri River, plus St. Louis to the Bootheel and back west to Branson.
All or parts of 13 counties – an area from Butler to Bolivar to Joplin – is in “moderate drought.” Wrapped around that is an area of about three dozen counties – Kansas City to Jefferson City to Rolla and back to Springfield – that’s rated “abnormally dry.”
It’s still bad elsewhere, particularly in pockets of Texas, Oklahoma and western Kansas and, in particular, most of California, Nevada and southern Oregon.
In Missouri, however, things are looking good for farmers, Welsh said, particularly in areas north and east of Kansas City. Experts at the University of Missouri said this week’s rains came at the perfect time for crucial growing stages for the state’s two main row crops – corn and soybeans.