White Christmas, wet Christmas – anything would have helped.



The heavy rain followed by moderate snow a week ago put the metro at about average precipitation for December, but 2012 overall will still be one of the driest on record.

White Christmas, wet Christmas – anything would have helped.

The heavy rain followed by moderate snow a week ago put the metro at about average precipitation for December, but 2012 overall will still be one of the driest on record.

With 22.17 inches recorded through Sunday at Kansas City International Airport, the year so far is only wetter than 1953 (20.93 inches, the record) and 1936 (21.51 inches). Another inch and a half would tie with 1976 (23.68 inches), and a half-inch beyond that lies 1988 (24.22 inches).

The National Weather Service’s officials records for Kansas City date back to 1889, which, by the way, was a fairly normal year – 38.33 inches, half an inch shy of the average.

December is generally dry – 4.8 inches of snow and a total of 1.53 inches of precipitation, on average – so one good storm like last week’s can cover that. The bigger picture, though, is ongoing drought,

“Several storm systems have affected the region in the last two weeks resulting near normal precipitation amounts across the area,” the Weather Service office in Pleasant Hill posted last weekend. “With the depth of the long-term precipitation deficts across the area, this had no impact on the ongoing drought conditions.”

Jackson County and much of western Missouri remain in what the federal government terms “severe drought,” the third of five degrees of drought. Most of the state is in either severe drought or, one step down, “moderate drought.” A couple of areas in southeast Missouri have improved to merely “abnormally dry” – a category that’s only begun showing up again in tiny parts of the state in recent weeks.

In August, much of the state – including Jackson County – was rated as being in “exceptional drought” (the fifth of the five degrees), and much of the rest was a notch down at “extreme drought.”  About three-fourths of Kansas remains in one of those two categories.

At KCI, just 14.42 inches of precipitation fell from April 1 to last Saturday, and that’s 43 percent of what normally would fall in that time. For the year as a whole, precipitation has been 58 percent of normal.

There’s no relief in the immediate forecast. The Weather Service expects it to be cloudy off and on and generally cold – seldom above freezing – through the weekend, with no rain or snow.