We were in Kansas City at a Kanza Co-op board meeting and retreat, so we missed getting to see the rain actually fall. By the time we got back to South Central Kansas Sunday evening, the ground had soaked up the rain like a sponge.
We're not alone. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated 104 of Kansas' 105 counties as federal disaster areas. Doniphan County in far Northeast Kansas is the only Kansas county that did not receive a federal disaster declaration.
In the USDA designation, 88 Kansas counties qualify as primary disaster areas and 16 Kansas counties were designated as contiguous disaster areas. The designations make USDA low-interest emergency loans available for qualified farmers and ranchers.
“We are entering the third consecutive year of a severe drought. While we cannot make it rain, it is imperative for everyone to continue working together to deliver relief and assistance to drought-stricken farmers and ranchers.”
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback
According to the January 8, 2013, U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate to exceptional drought covers 60.3 percent of the contiguous United States.
Here's a Top 10 list no one wants to make: The Hutchinson News reported last week that both 2011 and 2012 were among the driest in Reno County in recorded history. In 2011, annual rainfall in Reno County was 19.51." The total in 2012 was only slightly better at 20.05." (This puts them 6 and 7 on the Top 10 list for driest years. The "winner" was 1954, when Reno County received only 13.96.")
The deficit is 8 to 12 inches, depending on where you are in the region. We have a lot of deficit to make up.We'd love to have a new theme song around here: We suggest Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. However, the extended forecast doesn't look like that's eminent this week. Please keep praying for rain.
Mark Svobodaclimatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center, Lincoln, NE