Weather

April showers? In Kansas, there were plenty

A thunderstorm near Wellington shows a lowering as it moves towards Wichita on Tuesday evening. The storms eventually produced large hail and torrential rain when it later moved into Wichita.
A thunderstorm near Wellington shows a lowering as it moves towards Wichita on Tuesday evening. The storms eventually produced large hail and torrential rain when it later moved into Wichita. The Wichita Eagle

As March drew to a close, Larry Ruthi was fretting.

It had been a dry winter and spring wasn’t showing much of an inclination to change that.

“If we can’t get something going this spring, I am very concerned about the summer season for us,” Ruthi, the meteorologist-in-charge at the Dodge City branch of the National Weather Service, said at the time.

Unless the weather pattern changed, he added, “it could be a hideous summer.”

6.23 Wichita’s rainfall last month

But Dodge City’s wettest April on record has eased drought concerns in the region. The 8.08 inches that fell last month didn’t just set a record, it blew away the previous high by nearly 30 percent. The old record was 6.26 inches in 1976.

Fortunately for farmers in the area, the steady rains were widespread. At HorseThief Reservoir in Hodgeman County, heavy rains in the middle of the month sent water levels up 5 feet in two days.

2.59 Wichita’s average April rainfall

Wichita also saw plenty of rain last month. The 6.23 inches that fell was more than double the average April rainfall of 2.59 inches.

It also was the 6th-wettest April in Wichita history, said Scott Smith, a meteorologist with the Wichita branch of the weather service. The wettest April was in 1944, when 12.42 inches fell.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger

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