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Plenty of rains, just no drought-busters in August

9/4/2013

By MIKE CORN

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

While there were plenty of chances to break the drought in August, they just didn't pan out in most of northwest Kansas.

Instead, only the eastern half of Kansas was lucky enough to push back against a multi-year drought that has imperiled crops and community drinking supplies.

While Wichita guzzled down 10.63 inches of rain and Topeka about half that, most cities in northwest Kansas saw rainfall totals of less than an inch.

Ironically, at the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Center south of Hays, there were 10 measurable rainfall events in August, but collectively they represented the smallest amount -- 0.59 of an inch -- in the area.

Hill City reported nine instances of measurable precipitation in August, but only picked up 0.76 of an inch.

That's the way it was down the line.

Colby had eight measurable rains and 0.9 of an inch; Goodland reported seven measurable rains and 0.94 of an inch; and Winona had six measurable rains and 0.93 of an inch.

With a total of 0.59 of an inch, Hays was well behind normal for the month and is now 1.23 inches behind normal for the year. So far this year, Hays has received 15.76 inches of precipitation.

Conditions are dire in Goodland, however, where only 8.79 inches of moisture has fallen this year. That's 7.26 inches below normal, and just slightly better than what was reported this time last year.

Hill City's received 12.94 inches this year, 5.2 inches below normal but about twice the 6.83 reported this time last year.

To be sure, there were isolated reports of big rains throughout northwest Kansas in August.

The prize for the biggest August rain total goes to a spot approximately 6 miles southwest of Utica, where 8.24 inches fell, according to a myriad of reports filed with CoCoRaHS -- the online Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network.

A spot 10 miles south of Sharon Springs had 6.53 inches in seven rains.

There were scattered reports of rainfall totals of 4 and 5 inches near Utica, Goodland, Monument, Milberger, Winona and La Crosse.

But there were a number of reports with less than an inch of rainfall scattered across most of northwest Kansas.

Kanorado only had 0.59 of an inch and Gem in Thomas County only had 0.24 of an inch, according to the CoCoRaHs reports.

It wasn't just rain, however, in August.

While daytime highs in Hays passed the 100-degree mark just twice in August, there were a number of days when temperatures were close to that.

Still, on average, it was a cooler-than-normal month.

The average daytime high last month was 88.7 degrees; the long-term average is 91 degrees.

It didn't cool down as much as normal, however, with last month's low coming in at 65.4 degrees. That's nearly 1 degree warmer than normal.

On average, however, the month was two-thirds of a degree cooler than normal.