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Rainfall below normal in October





October was a below-normal month as far as rainfall goes for most of northwest Kansas, but the folks who prepare the drought monitor map continue to see September's rains as a cure-all to what had been a three-year drought.

Up and down the line, weather stations in northwest Kansas reported below average rainfall reports in October.

At the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Center in Hays, October's rainfall total stood at 0.99 of an inch, nearly a half-inch below normal.

So far this year, rainfall totals have amounted to 20.32 inches -- 0.91 of an inch below normal.

At the Northwest Research-Extension Center in Colby, the rainfall total in October stood at 0.98 of an inch.

Goodland reported 1.24 inches of rain, but that's still 0.13 of an inch below normal. Hill City had 1.06 inches, 0.46 of an inch below normal.

Goodland has received 16.52 inches of precipitation for the year, but that's 2.06 inches below normal. Hill City has picked up 16.87 inches so far this year, 4.56 inches below normal.

Despite the below-normal rainfall totals, the Drought Mitigation Center based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is showing only a small slice of Kansas in an extreme drought -- one step away from the most severe drought possible.

That area extends from Cheyenne County in extreme northwest Kansas through Rawlins County into Decatur County. Portions of three southwest Kansas counties also are considered to be in an extreme drought.

Starting at the eastern Ellis County line and extending north and south, the western part of the state is in either a moderate drought or a severe drought.

In early September, before heavy rains pounded isolated areas of the state, much of the area was facing drought conditions deemed to be either exceptional or extreme.

Aside from the drought, October was relatively uneventful -- until the middle of the month when snow settled in.

In Hays, the snowfall total ended with 0.3 of an inch. The snow and rain added 0.23 of an inch of precipitation to the total.

Colby picked up 2 inches of snow and Goodland measured 4 inches.

October also was a bit cooler than normal, with a mean temperature nearly 2 degrees below normal.