Finger on the Weather

May was wet, but it wasn’t the wettest

A car sits on Bleckley while a strong current of water flows down the street after heavy rains came through Wichita on May 16.
A car sits on Bleckley while a strong current of water flows down the street after heavy rains came through Wichita on May 16. File photo

Close the books on one of the wettest Mays in Wichita’s history.

The 11.77 inches recorded at the National Weather Service office next to Wichita Eisenhower National Airport is the second-most for the month since records first began being kept in 1888. Only 2008, with 13.14 inches, was wetter.

Wichita recorded measurable precipitation on 17 of May’s 31 days and set daily rainfall records on May 16 and May 23.

Last month wasn’t just wet for May, it was wet for any month. May 2015 was the eighth-wettest month since 1888 in the city, according to the weather service.

Of course, Wichita wasn’t the only place where it rained a lot in May. An active southern jet stream brought a steady supply of storms to Texas, Oklahoma and much of Kansas, forecasters said.

“They just kind of lined up,” weather service meteorologist Robb Lawson said of the storm-producing low-pressure systems.

Unlike the past two springs, when lower temperatures kept much moisture from pushing north out of the Gulf of Mexico, there has been plenty for the storms to feed off of this year. It shows in rainfall totals throughout the southern Great Plains.

Oklahoma and Texas both had their wettest Mays on record. Lincoln, Neb., and Fort Smith, Ark., had their wettest Mays in history.

Several cities in Kansas saw last month climb to lofty spots in the record books. Dodge City logged 10.33 inches of rain, good for the second-wettest May in history and nearly 7.5 inches above normal.

Topeka saw its sixth-wettest May, with 9.42 inches. Chanute’s 11.58 inches was also good for sixth, while Salina’s 8.28 inches claimed fourth.

“It was pretty active, to say the least,” Lawson said of the weather pattern in May. “It’s finally calming down a little bit.”

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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