Last evening around 6:45, as I was coming home from Hutchinson, I stopped on the old wooden bridge over Peace Creek. (There was a strategy behind the location of the photo op. I had on good shoes after doing interviews for a freelance writing job in Hutchinson.)
The overcast sky was still spitting the occasional raindrop, and the birds were singing their rendition of the "Hallelujah" chorus among leaves that look as though they've been colored by the Kelly Green crayon in a freshly-opened box of 64. During the past few days, we've gotten a total of 4.80 inches of rain here at our house.
|Puddles in the road north of our house - (File photo)|
We are thankful for the rain. And we also know that not everyone has been so fortunate to sweep up excess water from their house. I wish I could send some of the rain to Western Kansas or dole it out like a precisely-tooled budget, just when we needed it around here. When I looked at Facebook last night, I saw that Peterson Brothers Farms (of "I'm Farming and I Grow It" Youtube fame) had an additional 4 inches of rain in just an hour yesterday. As Greg Peterson stood on a country road that looked more like a creek, he was ready to share the abundance, too.
But it doesn't work that way. And, a year ago, the story here was drought, which left miles of the Rattlesnake Creek dry and reduced parts of the Ninnescah River to just a trickle. But this year, a week of rain, along with periodic rainfall since January, has boosted stream flows across South Central Kansas, along with replenishing farm ponds, reservoir levels and subsoil moisture. It takes awhile to recover from an extended drought, but this unusual July rainy season has helped.
This has not been a normal Kansas July. Monday's rain could bring July's total into the top 10 wettest Julys on record, according to Kansas State Climatologist Mary Knapp. That is drastically different from the past two Julys, which experienced 0.18 of an inch of rain in 2011 and 0.58 of an inch in 2012.
And, still, the drought is intensifying in Western Kansas, which has received only spotty showers. About 47 percent of Kansas, all in the western half, is in an extreme to exceptional drought - the highest ranking of the U.S. Drought Monitor.
I'm praying they get their turn at the rainfall soon.