Finger on the Weather

That stuff falling from the sky? It’s called ‘rain’ (+video)

It wasn’t much, but Tuesday’s rain was nevertheless notable.

The .05 of an inch that fell was the first measurable precipitation in Wichita in nearly five weeks. Nothing more than a trace had fallen since .34 of an inch was recorded on Feb. 2.

About a half-inch fell in neighboring Cowley County on Tuesday, prompting Emergency Management Director Brian Stone to lift the burn ban there.

But Wichita Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said Wichita’s burn ban will remain in effect through Friday.

“That’s not enough to do a whole lot around here,” Crisp said of the .05. “We’re going to need more than that.”

Barbecue grills are exempt, but chimineas, outdoor fire pits and burning leaves are all forbidden while the ban is in effect.

Less than an inch of rain has fallen in the first 68 days of the year, leaving Wichita 1.8 inches below normal for the year. The National Weather Service is predicting that more rain may fall this weekend in the Wichita area.

“It does look better Friday going into the weekend” for rain, Crisp said.

Sedgwick County Fire Department officials have lifted the burn ban in unincorporated areas.

People who aren’t sure whether they’re under the burn ban can call 911 to see if they’re inside the city limits, Crisp said. They can also call the Wichita Fire Department at 316-268-4441.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger