Wet spring leaves Kansas in a rare state: drought-free

Wet spring leaves Kansas in a rare state: drought-free.
For only the fifth time since 2000, Kansas is entirely drought-free.
Last weekend’s blizzard, which brought more than two feet of snow to isolated areas of far western Kansas and double-digit accumulation to a narrow band that stretched north to south in the western third of the state, erased the final remnants of a drought that has been gradually receding during a remarkably wet spring.
Kansas was drought-free for three weeks last September, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, records show.
But by the end of the year, nearly 83 percent of the state was enduring at least some degree of drought or abnormal dryness.
“Usually, parts of especially western Kansas are inherently dry anyway,” Darmofal said.
Dry conditions and strong winds set the stage for the largest single wildfire in state history in southwest Kansas in March, but steady rains and last weekend’s record-setting snow erased the nearly 15 percent of severe drought that gripped much of southwest Kansas at the beginning of the year.
Kansas and Wichita have plenty of company in avoiding dry conditions.
Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, tweeted on Friday that only 5 percent of the U.S. is currently in drought — the lowest percentage since weekly drought monitoring data began in 2000.
Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger

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