Tuesday, August 6, 2013
A state climatologist said Tuesday the drought that has gripped much of Kansas for the past three years has likely ended for some parts of the state.
State Climatologist Mary Knapp expects this week's report from the U.S. Drought Monitor, which will be released Thursday morning, to remove portions of central Kansas and southeastern Kansas from drought classifications. However, the driest parts of Kansas -- including some south-central portions of the state -- may still fall into drought categories, Knapp said.
Farmers in the portions of Kansas that have received rain are grateful and they are looking forward to a decent fall harvest.
"I'm not going to say, you know, huge, best crop we've ever raised, but it has potential to be above average," Sedgwick County farmer Mark Bergkamp said of his corn crop.
He said even an average crop is more than welcome.
"Two years ago, we were looking at a third of average and last year was maybe half to two-thirds, so we'll take it," Bergkamp said.
Knapp said the area of the state most in need of moisture has not seen the overabundance of rain that has swollen rivers and caused flooding in central and parts of south-central Kansas.
"We'd like to shift this moisture a little bit further west and avoid any more flooding and get some beneficial moisture to the western reaches of the state," she said.
That, Knapp said, will require a shift in long-term weather patterns. The shift has finally occurred in the eastern half of the state.
"It's been a very stagnant pattern in that these rains have repeated themselves day after day after day after day," Knapp said.
Bergkamp is glad the drought may nearly be over for him. However, he knows there is nothing he can do about the weather except hope for the best.
"It's definitely not fun," he said. "But it is part of farming. Everything comes in cycles."