The dry start of spring is now ending in a deluge of moisture.
Some areas of Kansas reported one of the wettest months of May on record, while many saw at least double the normal rainfall.
After receiving just a little more than 2 inches for the first four months of 2015, the Garden City Experiment Station recorded 6.38 inches last month, making it the fourth wettest May on record.
That's quite a change from a year ago when the station recorded just 0.63 of an inch - the fourth driest on record, said Mary Knapp, a climatologist with Kansas State University.
In fact, six of Garden City's top 10 driest Mays have occurred in the 21st century, making May 2015 a bit unusual for this area of semiarid western Kansas.
However, bountiful rainfall fell across much of the state, including the far reaches of western Kansas where abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions still persist.
The Dodge City area, with 10.33 inches, was the wettest since 1881 when 12.82 inches of rain fell, Knapp said.
Wichita, with 11.77 inches, and Great Bend, with 10.36 inches, both tabulated the second wettest May, while Kanopolis Lake, Tribune and Colby had enough to make it the third wettest.
But those sunny skies that farmers - especially in south-central Kansas - are now needing aren’t in climatologist Knapp’s forecast.
Knapp said the downpours have been caused by an open flow of moisture for the Gulf of Mexico. It has interacted with ripples of disturbances coming from the north, which have fired above the central plains. The systems, not moving quickly, have repeatedly fired over the same area.
Moreover, forecasts call for a cool, wet summer statewide. The weather service’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts a cooler and wetter summer through August, extending from the Central Rocky Mountains east, Knapp said.
Meanwhile, all the moisture in the atmosphere is causing pop-up convective thunderstorms to form, she said. Even humidity is high in western Kansas, which, typically, would have humidity peak at 30 percent.
About 1 p.m. Monday, temperatures at Hugoton were nearing 80 degree with 60 percent humidity.
South-central and eastern Kansas also received rain. Hutchinson's 7.72 inches makes it just the fourth wettest May on record.
Lebo, in Coffey County, also reported the wettest month since 1893 with 15.53 inches falling in May, Knapp said, noting that Lebo reported more rainfall than any other National Weather Service station for May.
It could be "another 100 years before it gets that wet again," Knapp said.