Kansas weather showed its dramatic ups and downs this summer as it bounced between extreme drought to more-recent constant rain that brought flooding to some areas.
Around Topeka, daily rain has been the norm for the last week or so and the pattern is expected to continue into the weekend. Manhattan has been experiencing major flooding and people have been displaced from their homes, while Marysville saw some flooding and heavy rain since Monday.
Marysville, however, didn’t see the significant impact that Manhattan did, according to Austin St. John, city administrator. The area had no flood damage or displaced residents, he said.
St. John said some flooding occurred due to storm drains not removing the water and some streets were blocked off for a short amount of time.
Chip Redmond, assistant scientist for the weather data library at Kansas State University, said most of the summer was really dry and toward late August, weather storms came through and dropped above normal precipitation.
Normal precipitation from the beginning of the year to Sept. 5 is about 29 inches and, not including precipitation from today, Topeka sits around 17 inches, he said.
The heavy rain in Manhattan that caused severe flooding and people to be evacuated was a rare anomaly and the heaviest pockets of rain will be isolated within the next few days, Redmond said.
At the beginning of August, Manhattan was about 11 inches below normal precipitation but the heavy rainfall changed that picture significantly, and the city is about two inches below normal, he said.
Redmond predicts that after the current rain moves out of the area, a return to drier weather will offset the above normal precipitation of recent weeks.
While Tropical Storm Gordon is occurring in the southern part of the country right now, Redmond said this bout of rain is not due to that storm, but more likely due a cold front that pushed east across the plains then stalled out.
Redmond said the front acted as a funnel to transport general tropical moisture north.
Rain continues, and effects are still being felt. South of Marysville, Highway 77 was closed around Osage Road due to water flowing over the road and a car getting stuck there, St. John said.
The Big Blue River in Marysville is rising, he added, but the city has yet to receive a notification on what its crest will be.
The rain, much sought after by farmers struggling with drought conditions, won’t have much of an impact on the corn crop, a Kansas expert said.
“Corn is an industrious crop so whether it’s the drought or excess moisture, it seems to be a survivor. We are still looking forward to a pretty good crop,” said Greg Krissek, CEo of the Kansas Corn Growers Association.
Corn is not in a high growth phase anymore, he added, so the rainfall is helpful for soil moisture and will be helpful going forward.
Krissek said some farmers have already begun harvesting corn, especially in the southeast part of the state, and some will start harvesting this week. The rain can slow down that process.
With the summer being a mix between dry and wet weather, Krissek said some farmers in Kansas were concerned about the state of their corn. But estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently showed Kansas corn production is expected to be about 658 million bushels, he said, slightly below last year’s expectations in August.
Krissek said he hasn’t heard of any fields in Manhattan, where the KGCA’s main office is, flooding due to the heavy rain.