This week's warm but dry weather is putting the area a little further behind on rainfall, as gardeners start getting some relatively hardy plants in the ground and farmers get ready for planting.

The National Weather Service has recorded just 0.34 inches of precipitation this month at Kansas City International Airport, almost an inch below average. Since Jan. 1, just 4.22 inches has been recorded, almost two inches shy of average.

In its latest weekly report, the U.S. Drought Monitor Index showed about half of Missouri as abnormally dry. That area included all of the western half of the state south of the Missouri River – except Jackson County – as well as central Missouri, parts of northeast Missouri and the St. Joseph area. Almost all of Kansas is listed as either abnormally dry or, in the south-central and southwest parts of the state, in moderate drought.

The immediate metro forecast is for sunny and warm days through Saturday, then chances of rain Saturday through Wednesday. No severe weather is expected.

Also, snowfall this winter was a little less than one-third of average. The Weather Service recorded just 5.9 inches of snow at KCI, compared with an average of 18.6 inches. Assuming no more falls, it would be the third-lowest annual amount on record, according to the Weather Service. The city got 4.5 inches in 1922-23 and 5.5 inches in 1949-50.

The most was 67 inches in 1911-12. Two recent winters are in the top 10: 44.3 inches in 2009-10 and 36.9 inches a year later.

Kansas City is past its average last date of frost, April 8, but that's an average, and it's still early for getting tender plants in the ground.