Despite current dry conditions, Lawrence still more than 8 inches above annual rain average

After a tempestuous spring and summer, which brought flooding and destruction of property for some area residents, the fall has been dry.

A third of the way through December, only a trace of precipitation has been reported at the Lawrence Municipal Airport, said Daniel Reese, a meteorologist with National Weather Service office in Topeka. During November, 1.18 inches of precipitation was recorded at the airport, which was an inch below the average for the month.

“It’s not much of a concern at the moment,” Reese said. But that could change. If conditions remain dry with low humidity through late February and March, a hazardous wildfire season in Kansas could begin to unfold.

For now, however, with 46.24 inches of rain having been recorded at the airport since Jan. 1, Lawrence is currently 8.79 inches above its annual rainfall of 37.45 inches.

“If Lawrence doesn’t get any precipitation at all in December, it will still be ahead,” said Mary Knapp, a climatologist with the Kansas State University Weather Data Library in Manhattan.

The weather outlook for the next two weeks is calling for above-normal precipitation from the West Coast, across Kansas through to the Atlantic seaboard, Knapp said.

“The quantitative precipitation forecast through Dec. 16, shows the possibility of one-tenth of an inch to a quarter inch of moisture,” Knapp said. “How that will come, whether in 2 inches of snow or a quarter inch of rain is up in the air.”

December and January are usually the driest times of the year. According to weather data recorded at the airport since 1998, no precipitation fell between Thanksgiving to Christmas in 2002, Knapp said. That isn’t likely to occur this year. The monthly weather outlook for the northeast corner of Kansas is calling for wetter than normal conditions during the second half of the month.

“We still have three weeks, and all it takes is one storm,” she said.


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