Recent storms don’t ease dryness

Recent storms have brought no relief to drought conditions in western Kansas.

Isolated rain fell Saturday but was not substantial, said Steve Kays, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka.

“It seems like the fronts are just passing them by and settling over eastern Kansas more,” he said.

And the thunderstorms that did drop some rain on western Kansas didn’t make much difference.

“Thunderstorms don’t really relieve drought conditions,” said Wes Etheredge, a meteorologist with WeatherData, a private forecasting service in Wichita. “When the ground gets very dry, it’s not very spongy and doesn’t soak up rain easily, especially if it’s raining very hard.”

Etheredge said areas east of Interstate 35 generally have had normal rainfall but most of that rain has fallen in the past two weeks. During May alone, Lawrence has received 2.36 inches of rain, said Phillip Bills, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Thirty-six hundredths of an inch fell in the city between midnight and 11 p.m. Saturday.

The foul weather prompted Friends of the Kaw to cancel a cleanup of the Kansas River between Lawrence and Topeka. The event has been pushed back to June. Call 842-3877 for more information.

East of Lawrence, DeSoto reported 0.25 inches overnight Friday, but cities further north were harder hit. Oskaloosa saw 1.1 inches, and Leavenworth got 1.01 inches, Bills said.

Although yearly totals and averages for Lawrence weren’t immediately available, Bills said Topeka had soaked up 10.07 inches since January nearly three-fourths of an inch above average for the year. He figured Lawrence had probably received even more rain because it’s farther east.

More showers were expected overnight, continuing into this morning. But then Lawrence should see a break in wet weather until the middle of the week.

Still, nothing is predicted in the near future that will change drought conditions.

“Usually the later in the summer we get, the drier it’s going to be statewide,” Etheredge said.