August made the record books in Wichita for being wet, then dry

09/10/2013 3:46 PM

08/06/2014 8:35 AM

It’s almost an understatement to say the weather in August had a split personality in the Wichita area.

Last month was such an exercise in extremes that it landed in Top 10 lists for most precipitation – and then least precipitation.

“Schizophrenic” isn’t too strong a term to describe August, said Ken Cook, a meteorologist with the Wichita branch of the National Weather Service.

The first half of the month resembled monsoon season, with 10.62 inches of rain between the 1st and the 15th.

That made the first two weeks of August the wettest first half of the eighth month in Wichita history. In fact, 2013 had nearly twice as much rain as second place on the list. In 1939, 5.80 inches fell in the first half of August.

But the skies cleared after Aug. 15, leaving Wichita high and dry ever since.

Just .01 of an inch fell the rest of the month, good for 10th place on the list of driest second half of August in the city’s history. Two years – 1947 and 1899 – measured no rain at all, while seven others logged merely a trace.

Just .01 has fallen so far in September, too.

The dome of high pressure that often camps over the Great Plains during the summer waited until mid-August to arrive in Kansas, forecasters have said.

“It’s just been sitting there since the rain stopped,” Cook said.

But that’s about to change, forecasters say. Rain fell in Hays on Tuesday and chances for rain arrive in the Wichita area Wednesday night and persist off and on through the weekend.

Cooler temperatures are expected as well.

“It looks like we’re going to be getting into more of a fall-type scenario” later this week, Cook said. “The big story is going to be the relief from the heat that we’re having now.”

Temperatures will cool off to the upper 70s to low 80s by the weekend, which are more seasonal for mid-September.

In fact, Cook said, it’s not much of a reach to say Wichita has seen its last 100-degree day of the year. The 101s of Saturday and Sunday lifted the total number of triple digits in Wichita to 13 in 2013.

That’s actually right about average for Wichita, though the past two summers soared well above that number.

From now on, Cook said, it’ll feel more like fall.

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