By MIKE CORN
You're a mean one, Mother Nature.
Amid forecasts of sharply higher food costs due to the drought, and a gubernatorial disaster declaration covering all of Kansas, lightning, strong wind and hail punctuated Wednesday evening's arrival of a cold front ready to play something of a cruel trick on northwest Kansas.
Rainfall reports from overnight isolated storms varied wildly, ranging from nothing in western-most reaches of Kansas to less than three-quarters of an inch in Trego and Russell counties. Hays received only 0.08 of an inch of rain at the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Center.
Amid the light rain, strong winds and hail -- in some cases nearly 2 inches in diameter -- fell in Smith, Rush and Trego counties.
A report near Voda in Trego County put the size of hail at 1.75 inches in diameter.
In Russell County, rainfall reports just a few miles apart ranged from 0.58 of an inch to just 0.08 of an inch.
There was a single Decatur County report of 0.88 of an inch.
Hill City, however, picked up only 0.05 of an inch, making for a monthly grand total of 0.43 of an inch. Only 5.35 inches of moisture has been recorded at Hill City this year, far less than its normal of 14.22 inches.
Goodland didn't receive any of Wednesday's rain, and now stands at about half of its normal annual rainfall.
Today's temperatures are still expected to approach -- but not pass -- the century mark. The National Weather Service predicts a slight chance of rain Sunday.