Editor's note: A look back at some of the top stories in 2014.
By MIKE CORN
First came Kansas, sitting in a drought.
First comes dry weather.
Then comes rain, falling buckets.
Erasing the drought.
Sure, that might be a cheap attempt at replicating a well-known children's song.
But in reality, that's the way the year has gone: First drought, then rain in June. Lots of rain, at least in some areas. Not so much in other areas.
In Hays, 9.45 inches fell at the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Center at the south edge of Hays. That's the third wettest June on record. Normal is 1.89 inches.
Utica, however, picked up 13.79 inches, the second wettest on record.
But then the rains stopped, only to start up again in September, albeit on a slightly smaller scale. Hays, for example, picked up 5.94 inches, 3.7 inches ahead of normal.
November, however, was dismal in terms of moisture, measuring just 0.05 of an inch for the entire month.
It's been a topsy-turvy year for weather this year, starting out with frequent days of blowing dust.
It was so bad, three people were killed in an 11-vehicle pileup west of Rexford as dust reduced visibility to zero in places. The Kansas Department of Transportation closed highways throughout northwest Kansas on several days in January, including Jan. 10 when the massive accident occurred, sending debris from trucks filled with corn into adjacent ditches.
Two other accidents also were reported the same day, also as a result of the blowing dust.
Hays didn't escape the dust, and just 10 days later a wall of dust swept through Hays and the rest of northwest Kansas as a cold front dropped temperatures nearly 20 degrees in less than 30 minutes.
Despite the on-and-off conditions of both drought and floods, with 24.57 inches of precipitation at the end of November, Hays will end the year ahead of normal in terms of moisture. Normal is 22.77 for the entire year.
The June and September rains, however, account for just shy of 70 percent of the total rain.
Oh, and if the rains weren't enough to think about, an eight-day period in November sent shivers down the backs of northwest Kansas residents when the mean temperature stood at 22 degrees.
It was the coldest eight-day period on record.
Record lows also were set in Hays, Goodland, Russell and Hill City.
"During the height of this," Scott Mentzer, the meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service office in Goodland, said at the time, temperatures were 20 to 30 degrees "below normal for most of western Kansas."
"We were the coldest we have ever been this early in the year," he said.