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Rainy week should take bite out of drought in Wichita area

A full rainbow and a lightning strike can be see from the banks of the Little Arkansas River near downtown Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, May 19, 2012. A series of powerful thunderstorms Saturday evening produced multiple tornado reports in southern Kansas. (May 19, 2012)
A full rainbow and a lightning strike can be see from the banks of the Little Arkansas River near downtown Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, May 19, 2012. A series of powerful thunderstorms Saturday evening produced multiple tornado reports in southern Kansas. (May 19, 2012) The Wichita Eagle

Thirsty lawns and farm fields throughout the Wichita area can expect a welcome helping of rainfall over the next few days, forecasters say.

Up to 3 inches of rain could fall in parts of the metropolitan area and southeast Kansas by the time the storm system departs the area late this week.

“There’s going to be a lot of gradual rain here, which is what we need,” said Mike Smith, senior vice president at AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions in Wichita.

The “widespread soaking rain,” as National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Smith put it, will be embedded with the occasional thunderstorm.

The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center is projecting between 1.5 and 2.5 inches of rain for Wichita through Friday, with parts of southeast Kansas receiving up to 4 inches.

If that forecast proves accurate, the rain should take a healthy bite out of the drought still gripping the region, forecasters say. Wichita is 4 inches below normal for precipitation.

“We are way behind” in rainfall for the year, Scott Smith said. “That should help quite a bit.”

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