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Archive for Wednesday, December 20, 2000

Snow won’t alleviate drought

State climatologist says northeast Kansas will end year dry

December 20, 2000

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— Snow from recent winter storms won't do much to alleviate drought conditions in northeast Kansas.

Mary Knapp, state climatologist, said recent snowstorms have done little to improve dry conditions in northeast Kansas and that many communities probably will end the year as much as 30 percent behind normal precipitation totals.

A federal drought report last week said the worst of the drought in Kansas remains in Nemaha, Jackson, Pottawatomie and Marshall counties.

Snowfalls across the area have averaged between 5 inches and 9 inches. But the snow has been dry and powdery, so that 5 inches in some areas yields less than 1/10th of an inch of moisture, Knapp said.

"That isn't going to do a whole lot to erase a 10-inch deficit," Knapp said.

Moderate drought conditions remain in parts of eight additional counties, according to the latest evaluation. They are Brown, Clay, Doniphan, Geary, Jefferson, Shawnee and Washington.

The average annual precipitation in northeast Kansas ranges from about 30 inches in Washington and Clay counties to more than 40 inches in the Missouri River valley, including Atchison and Doniphan counties.

The federal report said northwest and north-central Kansas no longer are under a severe drought alert, largely because of rains earlier in the fall. It also removed southeast and central Kansas counties from a first-stage drought alert posted in September.

As for the rest of the cold-weather season, Kansans can expect average precipitation through March, according to long-range National Weather Service projections.

However, Knapp noted that 75 percent of the state's precipitation falls from April to September.

"Most of our storms this month have featured really strong winds and single-digit temperatures lots of cold wind and very little precipitation," she said.

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