Despite recent rainfall, ‘extreme drought’ conditions continue in Douglas County

photo by: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Douglas County received a lower drought rating from NOAA for the month of August 2018.

Recent rainfall hasn’t done much to ease dry conditions in Douglas County, and more dry weather is ahead over the next couple of months, weather and climate monitoring agencies say.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration currently ranks Douglas County’s drought condition as “extreme drought,” unchanged from its rating in late July.

According to the National Weather Service rain gauges at Lawrence Municipal Airport, as of Saturday afternoon, Lawrence had received 1.69 inches of rain so far for the month — roughly half an inch less than the average of 2.28 inches for this time in August. Precipitation totals for the year remain at 13.73 inches, a little more than half of the year-to-date average of 25.81 inches.

The NWS predicts rain Saturday night and Sunday in Lawrence, and there is also a chance of rain on Monday. However, meteorologist Brandon Drake with the NWS’ Topeka bureau said the weather will stay dry in the long term.

“Heading into a drier time of the year, it does not look like the weather is in our favor, and the rain we will be getting won’t be a big help,” Drake said. “The dry season is expected to last through late October.”

The outlook could be different for other parts of the state. Horticulturist Tom Buller, with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, said the drought isn’t uniform across Kansas.

“The drought has mostly affected the eastern part of the state, while conditions in western Kansas have been abnormally wet in some areas,” Buller said.

Even within the county, the severity of the drought varies.

“Some areas in Douglas County have experienced more rainfall than others, improving the condition of the plant life in those areas,” Buller said.

He advised residents to water their trees regularly, and he said that people wanting to plant gardens for fall should do so right away.


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