The Struggle for Rain

/The Struggle for Rain

The Struggle for Rain

Happy Mother’s day bloggers,

We are in for another very warm and humid day with little to no rain. This is great news for any outdoor activities, but not so great news for your yard or farm.

We have had a problem with this weather pattern since its formation in October and November. The problem is that when there is a chance of precipitation it often looks like a decent event 2-5 days out. Then, as we get closer to the actual event, the amounts drop off quite a bit. And, guess what, here we go again. We have chances of rain and thunderstorms later tonight, Monday night-Tuesday morning, Wednesday and next weekend. Let’s go over the latest data.

First, where does the Plains stand as far as rainfall for the year? Gary compiled some fascinating statistics for cities around the region.

We are looking at the heart of the drought east of the Rockies. Amarillo has seen less than 1″ of rain all year and remember their snowfall total for the winter was zero! They average about 17″ of snow.


When you shift to central and eastern Oklahoma the drought eases. Oklahoma City and Tulsa are 2″-3.50″ below average and on the edge of the drought.


When we head north to I-80 we see locations such as Grand Island, Omaha and Des Moines are also about 2″-3.50″ below average and on the edge of the drought.


Missouri has quite a rainfall total variety. St. Louis has seen over 17″ of rain, 4″ above average. KC has seen about 10″ less rainfall and we are about 3.50″ below average. St. Joseph has received nearly 14″ less rain this year than St. Louis.


Average rainfall per week across the region is about 1″ west to 2″ east. So, now let’s see if we can get average rainfall the next 5-7 days.

SUNDAY: Once again we have the set up for thunderstorms as a front remains stalled from southwest Kansas to southern Iowa. The warm air aloft (Cap) will hold today, but break a little bit tonight. So, today will be breezy, very warm and humid.


SUNDAY EVENING: Thunderstorms look likely to form in central Kansas. Now, will they make it to eastern Kansas and western Missouri?


MONDAY MORNING: It looks like the thunderstorms will weaken as they move towards KC. We should see some remnants, but we need more than remnants.


MONDAY AFTERNOON AND NIGHT: The set up is there once again for thunderstorms to form to the west and north along the fronts. It looks like they will form. Also, they will be closer, so as they move east we should see some nice thunderstorms Monday night. But, they may be in a weakening phase.


Tuesday is now looking drier and a bit cooler as the cold front above moves through. A weak system may bring scattered showers and thunderstorms Wednesday, but that is now looking like less coverage. Thursday and Friday are now looking drier.

RAINFALL FORECAST THROUGH FRIDAY: The latest data is suggesting amounts will range from .25″-.75″ to 1″-3″. This means some yards and farms will have beneficial rain and others will not. Where will the heaviest rain occur? Well, this data suggests in the big drought areas to the south. KC would see 0.71″ which is 50% of average for a week, not good. Now, all this being said, this is not set in stone as when you are dealing with thunderstorms the locations can change and the models are not good at picking up these changes.


Have a great week and I hope your yard or farm gets the rain it needs.

Jeff Penner

2018-05-14T08:08:14+00:00May 13th, 2018|General|27 Comments


  1. Richard May 13, 2018 at 8:11 am - Reply

    Thanks Jeff
    Gary said he thinks the 2nd half of May will be wet. Is this still the case ?

  2. REAL HUMEDUDE May 13, 2018 at 8:51 am - Reply

    The super wet period in October that started off this LRC is nowhere to be found in any other cycle. Every cycle has been it’s own pattern.

    • Nate May 13, 2018 at 9:20 am - Reply

      That’s what I don’t understand about the LRC, all of this should have been very predictable. Does the LRC only predict “systems” but doesn’t really do much with day to day or local weather? If so what advances have come out of the LRC, if it exists at all? It seems weather prediction is the same as it’s always been, nobody really knows until it starts happening.

    • Richard May 13, 2018 at 9:31 am - Reply

      But I thought you were one that said its coming. The wet period.

      I don’t know where this much above normal temps stretch came from.
      I know seasonal differences, but much below norm temps in the cycles to much above normal now makes no sense.

      • REAL HUMEDUDE May 13, 2018 at 10:40 am - Reply

        I thought it was coming until it didnt, these dry thunderstorms we’ve been haven’t lately are very concerning. Acting droughtish lately , storms aren’t materializimg

      • Troy Newman May 13, 2018 at 4:53 pm - Reply

        I think the LRC is telling us what weather to expect but we don’t want to hear it. I know some of the temperature swings seem extreme but that is not unusual. Some of the colder winters were followed by hotter summers. We have been very warm (Oct, Nov early Dec) and very cold (early Jan, Feb and April) What has been consistent in this LRC is the lack of moisture. At my location we have had only 4″ since this LRC began vs a normal of 12″. The only two years that bad were 1956 and 1966. In 1956 we had only 14″ here which is the driest year on record and 1966 had 18″ which wasn’t far behind. Now the beginning of Oct was very wet but a good part of that was in the last LRC not this one. The rain stopped here on October 10 and I am not sure which LRC to attribute the rain to.

        As far as predicting day to day weather I don’t know. I struggle to see it but I don’t spend as much time looking at it as some. It does seem to show the patterns we can expect.

        • Gary May 13, 2018 at 6:52 pm - Reply


          Great comment! Nick, what? The LRC has provided a tremendous insight into what we are experiencing. In Kansas City, if we don’t get into an exciting pattern next year, then we may lose some of you on how incredible this is. Explaining how nothing is going to happen is quite a challenge, that for years I have had to attempt explaining. Then, when nothing continues to happen, and I am exaggerating a bit because we aren’t experiencing nothing, but we are not in the right spot for the fourth straight year; a ridiculously long time. Maybe next year we will be New York City? But right now we are KC. We may have a quite fascinating Monday. Because we are near one of the “quasi permanent troughs” as described by Jerome Namais, and discussed in the paper “Cycling Patterns of the Northern Hemisphere, 70-years of research and a new hypothesis”, we will experience a few events, like April 13, May 2, and a few others as predicted months ago, we will unfortunately continue in this pattern. It is a fact!


          • Richard May 13, 2018 at 8:46 pm - Reply

            Nick ? You mean Nate ?

  3. Kurt May 13, 2018 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Wait and watch the oranges and reds of drought expand and nothing we can do but suffer through the really terrible lrc we are in. Looks like crop losses, lack of hay are more and more likely to happen. Also stress on trees, shrubs and yards. Time to water more, very happy Water Company this year on my part lol.

  4. Richard May 13, 2018 at 9:42 am - Reply

    Going straight from furnace running 24/7 to a.c. 24/7 is not what I expected.
    Just wanted some in-between temps for awhile !

  5. Baseball Mike May 13, 2018 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Good morning Gary and the weather team-haven’t blogged much over the past two years but as an original blogger and a general weather observer these patterns that develop are really phenomenal on the fact that the capping has increased over eastern Kansas over the past 15-20 years. I also can’t recall a stationary front like this one that can’t move? I know the Bermuda High is a problem but this dry year is different than June 2011-June 2014 when we had the true three year drought. It could be a reality that we do not reach 20 inches of rain here in Topeka for the year which would be extraordinary as well unbelievable. Let us hope for some decent rains soon. Michael/Berryton/Topeka

  6. Kurt May 13, 2018 at 10:19 am - Reply

    I don’t recall trees with such heavy bloom. Does nature know when to try and overproduce so that seedlings will be here after the drought ends? Not sure what St Joseph’s driest year is, but we’re on pace for only somewhere between 11 and 14 inches of precip this year

  7. Terry May 13, 2018 at 10:33 am - Reply

    Lol if you get under one of the Thunderstorms you can get alot of rain out of it. Like yesterday morning a Thunderstorm was over WY CO and was barely moving a it rain so hard the at my House Like tomorrow Afternoon / Evening theres a chance of Serve thunderstorms over parts of Eastern Kansas and MO .

    • Kurt May 13, 2018 at 10:51 am - Reply

      Terry, these set ups don’t break a drought. Not sure what your point is?

      • Terry May 13, 2018 at 11:04 am - Reply

        my point is if you get under one of these Thunderstorms It can help alot. The three alot of green grass where I’m at. Yes even if the Drought chart is over the metro it dont mean all the city is hurting or is in a Drought alot.

        • Kurt May 13, 2018 at 11:45 am - Reply

          Too funny, green grass isn’t an indication this time of year of drought severity. If you look at the condition on sub and top soil, creek and stream flow, growth of pastures, evaporation rates etc.

          The dryness up here is now long term, this is over a full year now and going to be much worse I’m afraid for the immediate area around St Joseph than 2012

        • Tdogg May 13, 2018 at 3:16 pm - Reply

          Huh Terry?

  8. Nick May 13, 2018 at 10:35 am - Reply

    in terms of blooms, one thing that I have noticed this year in St. Joe is that in two weeks all the trees went from almost bare to full canopy, but the silver maples that drop thier “Helicopter” seeds twice a year( once during the spring bloom and once durning the fall) did not produce any of those seeds( at least in my area), I don’t think I remember seeing them “skip” like that before, normally there are so many of them that they cover the porch, and the yard and it sounds like it is raining sometimes, because they are falling at such a rate, but none this year, what’s more, I was chatting with a friend in Toronto and he says that the silver maples did the same thing up there this year! I really thought that was odd.

    • Kurt May 13, 2018 at 10:52 am - Reply

      Did the first silver maples blooms get damaged by the late prolonged cold?

    • NoBeachHere May 13, 2018 at 11:22 am - Reply

      No helicopters from my Silver Maple last year and just a few this year.
      Last year was the 1st year in 3 years that my Oak produced acorns and it was only top producing.

  9. KS Jones May 13, 2018 at 12:28 pm - Reply
    Bison on the block: State auctioning off entire herd of buffalo
    About 55 of the horned, woolly beasts are currently up for sale, with the bidding as of Thursday afternoon standing at $10,500.01. . . “Due to the drought that we’ve experienced in western Oklahoma, the pasture where they graze is not in great shape,” . . . Buying hay for the animals has become expensive, as well, she said.

  10. Richard May 13, 2018 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    4PM temperature at KCI, 90°. It ties the record high set in 1940, 56 and 62.

    2012 The rains shut off by May 1st
    2018 The rains never really came again after October

    Drought creeping. Its coming for the Metro.

  11. Jackson in Gladstone May 13, 2018 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    I, for one, am still holding out hope that Gary’s forecast for near- to above-average precip for May/June in the KC region pans out — he used the LRC for that forecast, so I’m confident!

  12. Richard May 13, 2018 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    Anyone hear about the wicked 3 inch hail that covered the highway and heavy rain just south and east of Greehsburg today ?
    Kiowa County

  13. Richard May 13, 2018 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    Possibly strong storms here tomorrow p.m. after rush hour ?

  14. Matt May 14, 2018 at 7:16 am - Reply

    Still under Slight Risk.

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