May Rainfall Totals: First 20 Days

/May Rainfall Totals: First 20 Days

May Rainfall Totals: First 20 Days

Good morning bloggers,

We are now moving into the last third of May, which is climatologically the wettest ten day stretch on average in Kansas City.  On Sunday morning, thunderstorms developed around the northern edge of a disturbance, and if you got underneath one then your lawn got a nice drink of water.  I had 1.00″ exactly yesterday at my place in south Overland Park. but the month is still under 2″ at my house.

May Rainfall Totals:

  • KCI Airport:  4.51″ (12 days with at least a trace out of the first 20 days of the month)
  • Topeka, KS:  3.07″
  • Emporia, KS:  3.07″
  • Pleasant Hill, MO:  2.52″
  • Johnson County Executive Airport, KS:  1.94″
  • Downtown Kansas City Airport: 1.91″
  • Manhattan, KS:  1.70″
  • St. Joseph, MO:  1.69″
  • Gardner, New Century Airport, KS:  1.55″
  • Dodge City, KS:  1.03″
  • Amarillo, TX:  0.08″

The same pattern has been rather consistent with very few exceptions.  KCI Airport had two very wet thunderstorms that went right over the radar site to get the official total to 4.51″.  Amarillo, TX, quite obviously, did not have even one thunderstorm target their radar site. That 0.o8″ total just adds to their drought plagued total since mid-October of 0.93″.  Think about that total; less than one inch of rain with zero inches of snow in the last seven months. The drought extends northeast into the KC region.

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 7.48.57 AM

The drought has eroded to the north and south of our area, with St. Joseph down the middle of this extension from the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles.

There was one huge thunderstorm in northern Missouri Saturday night around 11:45 PM:

Version 2

Glen in Trenton sent this picture in, and wow.  Look very closely. You can see the smaller hail stones that got wrapped into the large hail stone. No one has ever experienced hail forming, but the violent collisions, the freezing of all of that into the very large hail stone must be just incredible.

Kansas City Weather Timeline:

  • Today: Morning low clouds will break up by early afternoon. Temperatures will warm up into the mid to upper 70s. Just a light west breeze.
  • Tuesday: Mostly sunny and warmer. South winds 5-15 mph. High:  85°

Have a great day!


2018-05-22T08:16:46+00:00May 21st, 2018|General|40 Comments


  1. Snow Miser May 21, 2018 at 8:06 am - Reply
  2. MMike May 21, 2018 at 8:13 am - Reply

    WOW! It’s been a crazy 60 days. Starting all the way back to the first day of spring, we went on to have 90 percent of the days below average for the first month of spring….the growing season was very slow to start and some warm season grasses were still dormant all the way up to May 1st. So, winter was 5 months long this past season. Then boom!!…Summer hit. We skipped spring. We have been well above average for the entire month of May. We went from zero leaves on the trees, dormant grass, to a raging summer growth look all in 3 weeks. Folks, have you ever seen so much maturity to the vegetation in such a small window of time?? I have never seen that and it certainly couldn’t have been forecasted. No forecast called for record breaking cold in April to a full summer pattern in May. Total flip in the pattern which leaves us wondering, will spring return for a bit or are we on our way to a scorching summer.

    The area received great moisture over the weekend but many folks are still running behind. However, as seen near Hume’s farm and parts of KS, things change fast. HUGE amounts of rain have fallen in the past few weeks for some of the really bad drought areas. As far as KC, well, we could use more rain but we’re not hurting. I’m sitting at just under 4 inches of rain for May just west of Liberty and the vegetation is very healthy. The soil is very moist around town this morning. I am seeing some minor stress mainly to turf grasses south of the river on some of our properties, but, all in all it’s not a drought yet. Close, but green and growing grass is not a drought. We certainly have had to use more then the normal on irrigation this month due to the unexpected summer temps for weeks now. If the GFS is right, we will finish May very warm to hot and somewhere around 8,9,10 degrees above average. Didn’t see this coming with all the cold that was in the pattern this last Dec. through April.

    So, now that spring is summer, will summer be summer times 6. Nobody really knows, right?? Hopefully we can hit some more storms later this week and into the weekend to keep things green. Maybe we will be super wet and cooler in June. Why not…this pattern has been very unpredictable up to this point. I mean, who thought April would be snowy and have record cold across the country followed by a full summer time pattern in May? Talk about polar opposites. You went from heavy coats and boots, to flip flops and a mid summer tan all in 3 weeks.

  3. Ben May 21, 2018 at 8:15 am - Reply

    Looking at the long range forecast our rain chances are running out for May. We have a few small chances this week though. Is your confidence high we can get a few showers this week?

  4. George May 21, 2018 at 8:43 am - Reply

    Got just over 1/2″ total at my house for Saturday and Sunday. 87th & Antioch in OP

  5. Mr. Pete May 21, 2018 at 8:44 am - Reply

    Got a forecast for this weekend??

  6. Three7s May 21, 2018 at 8:44 am - Reply

    Well, yesterday was supposed to be a wide-spread all day rain, and that wasn’t even close to the case. The drought continues.

    • Richard May 21, 2018 at 10:15 am - Reply

      It rained-drizzled-misted most if the day in my area of Olathe

    • Heat Miser May 21, 2018 at 2:21 pm - Reply

      It rained off and on most of the the day in Lawrence

  7. f00dl3 May 21, 2018 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Snow Miser,

    That article looked kind of valid until I saw the very scientific term Mega Rains describing 2″ rainfalls.

    2″ rainfalls are not that uncommon. We just have better reporting on it now than 30 years ago.

    • Snow Miser May 21, 2018 at 9:05 am - Reply

      Interesting point!

    • Snow Miser May 21, 2018 at 9:07 am - Reply

      That said, why would they be reporting them better in the Midwest in the last 30 years, but reporting them worse in the South (and a few other areas) over the same time period?

    • REAL HUMEDUDE May 21, 2018 at 9:30 am - Reply

      Mega-rain defined ; “Mega-rain” events that have occurred since statehood. These are events in which six inches of rain covers more than 1000 square miles and the core of the event topped eight inches. Rainfalls of this magnitude and geographic extent have the potential to become catastrophic.
      I’m not reading that as describing a 2″ rainfall. What they are describing is in fact, a huge rainfall for any geographic area to deal with. Sort of how we dealt with those mega rains last year that flooded out Coaches a couple times and devastated southern JOCO. They do seem to be happening with more frequency everywhere.

  8. Three7s May 21, 2018 at 9:13 am - Reply

    Well, to avoid a major drought, we have three things to hope for in the summer. A southwesterly flow could bring in monsoon rains, assuming “the ridge” doesn’t kill it. A northwesterly flow means MCS activity, which we should have at least a little of. Our last option would be the remnants of a hurricane, which actually ended the 2012 drought.

    If one of those three things doesn’t happen consistently during the summer, this drought will get ugly if it isn’t already.

  9. MMike May 21, 2018 at 9:16 am - Reply


    The drought continues…

    I didn’t know droughts were full of alive trees, growing grass and beautiful green. There was great rains over the weekend,(slow steady rains in many areas) our entire portfolio of properties are very moist this morning. Droughts don;t have moist soils and thriving bushes, shrubs, trees, grass.

    I know it’s drier then normal, but drought? Droughts have dead stuff everywhere, non growing grass, no humidity. Ya see, yes, below average on moisture but it has been manageable due to the type of weather we are getting. That is, some well timed rains, humidity which helps keep moisture in place following rains or irrigation…non windy days(we have not had tremendous wind this month). So, drier then average, yes, drought, NO!! At least a drought that has impacts…. what impacts are being felt by this so called drought.

    2012…that was a drought. This discussion every year on here is for drought, yet, not one has happened in 6 years. Maybe this year everyone will finally get it right. When you call for one every year, you are bound to get it right one year.

    I know the drought monitor has Clay and Platte county in a moderate drought, but they go off of rainfall totals. Drive up there today and tell me how pretty that moderate drought looks.

    I’m not saying it’s wet at all, I’m saying that drought is used so loosely on here every time we hit a dry stretch. With that being said, we certainly can go into a much more damaging drought as we’re just a few weeks of 90’s,wind and no moisture a way…

    I was in St. Joe last Thursday, Kurt paints a much gloomier picture then what is really going on there. The vegetation looked just like KC’s, growing and healthy. Perennials blooming, trees alive, grass growing… Once all that stops, then, yes, we’re in a drought that has impacts. Right now, there are zero impacts. There are some exceptions of course.

    Drought and bellyaching, that’s all the discussion is on here anymore. The blogs and the comments…..WE HAD RAIN OVER THE WEEKEND WITH HIGH HUMIDITY, IS ANYONE EVER HAPPY????????

    • Gary May 21, 2018 at 10:39 am - Reply

      We aren’t really in the drought Mike. We are certainly on the threshold of one, but it is just barely an extension of what you see on the drought monitor. Yes, everything is green, but rainfall amounts are way below average over most of our area. It is still a concern.


    • Three7s May 21, 2018 at 11:41 am - Reply

      The reason I said what I said is because if we are struggling for rain during the time of the year when we are supposed to get slammed, what will happen when summer actually hits?

      If summer acts like summer usually does, this will be a drought. If we went by actual rainfall totals, some areas would be close already.

      • Three7s May 21, 2018 at 12:15 pm - Reply

        Also, I probably should’ve originally said that we COULD be in a drought come summer if things don’t change. Not everyone is in a drought right now, but I just really worry about summer right now.

      • MMike May 21, 2018 at 3:05 pm - Reply


        But, summer didn’t act like summer last year. Remember, we were below average on temps and way above on moisture. Ya just never know sometimes…

        I get what you are saying though.
        We’re just getting by now, that can change quickly in either direction.

    • Troy Newman May 21, 2018 at 12:44 pm - Reply

      I think the better description is one of concern about a drought and it does matter where you are located. At this point the people who are suffering are those growing wheat and hay as as well as pasture. We have ponds that have dried up for the first time in 15-20 years and some people are fencing off whats left so their cattle don’t get stuck in the mud. The row crops are ok for now but our sub soil moisture is non existent as we have only had 5″ since October which is 1/3 of what we normally get. Much of KS is in a similar situation. My biggest concern is this is usually when we fill ponds and recharge soil moisture and that is obviously not happening for many folks.

      • KS Jones May 21, 2018 at 1:06 pm - Reply

        I’m surprised Manhattan has gotten only 1.7″ of rain so far this month. This area (25 miles directly north of Manhattan) has gotten 3.32″, but most of that came in the first 3 days of May, and the most rain we’ve had since May 3rd was 0.31″ on May 19th.

  10. REAL HUMEDUDE May 21, 2018 at 9:22 am - Reply

    I got close to 3″ at the farm over Saturday and Sunday, several rounds of strong thunderstorms and got the creek up bank full. We are sitting pretty for now, got the subsoil moisture recharged which had really gotten dry over past few weeks. Hard to say the area is in a drought with St. Joe being the exception, I will agree its been a drier pattern but hard to say this is drought conditions. My yard in Shawnee ,KS is soggy and has been growing nonstop all season even though on drier side. Look how much rain has fallen near Chanute, KS the past month, they are at around 8″ for the month. Droughts don’t produce that much rainfall, look at Amarillo if you want to see what a drought produces. Even Kurt has gotten a couple 1″+ rainfalls this month, that doesn’t happen in a bad drought. Its a drier year around the region, but not a real drought year in my opinion, other than St. Joe vicinity and obviously Amarillo.

  11. Steve May 21, 2018 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Live 60 mi. SWW of St Joe. Have received 1.61″ of ran this month with a 1″ rain 5/2. Need moisture!

    • Roger May 21, 2018 at 10:46 am - Reply

      Central Kansas agrees with you! After receiving locally 1.50 inches on May 2nd, we have seen only 0.50-0.75 inches in the last 18 days. Only spotty rains are forecasted in the next 10 days. Which would end May at only 40-50% of normal.

      • Kurt May 21, 2018 at 1:58 pm - Reply

        That’s about what the official reporting station in St. Joseph has registered somewhere around 2 inches for the Month of May, which is about 1/2 of normal for the month. I do think they broke 4 inches total year to date this weekend. Some areas of town though has pretty good rains last week (but it was very spotty and localized downpours depending on the area) 1/2 mile away of even a few blocks away made a world of difference.

        It’s easy to assume everything is fine on the surface when everything is green and blooming, but some of us are watering alot and case in point before last weeks rains, driving down a street here in St. Joseph with lots of businesses you could tell irrigated from non-irrigated yards as some are already showing stress for lack of rain and turning dormant. Nothing like deep last summer when most yards up here were very brown along with the interstate right-of-ways and pastures, but this is the time when you’d think we’d be getting good rains to carryover into those drier stretches.

        There are parts of the area that are going to be hurting when we crank up the summertime heat if areas continue only getting 30 – 40% of normal precip. And yes it’s going to be gloomy folks, there isn’t a way around this if you trust the lrc and storms to perform accordingly.

  12. Roger May 21, 2018 at 11:02 am - Reply

    According to the Wichita NWS, May is running 7-10+ degrees above normal. CPC has us well above average in temps and below normal in precip through at least June 10.

  13. Michael Garner May 21, 2018 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    So much for hoping those strong April cold fronts would still come back thru, not as strong obviously as it is end of May, but it would appear those extremely below average temperature days in April mean above average days at the end of May. O well, as a winter and fall fan only 4 months from the potential fall cold fronts.

    • Richard May 21, 2018 at 2:54 pm - Reply

      I asked the same a couple of weeks ago. Seasonal differences.
      But it makes no sense, LRC-wise, that we were way below average temps in April then flip-flop to above average in May.
      April 8 cold and snow ! 47 days later, May 25 is predicted to be above average, much like the whole month.

  14. Michael Garner May 21, 2018 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    When does the summer forecast come out?

  15. Tdogg May 21, 2018 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    Terry=MMike because Green grass=no drought….makes sense

  16. MMike May 21, 2018 at 3:11 pm - Reply


    In the history of the whole world, nobody has ever looked back and said, wow, that drought last year was so green.

    Nobody puts green vegetation and drought in the same category.

    It’s drier then normal, that is all. Now, when yards die off and trees start stressing, then you can toot the drought horn all you want .

  17. Nick May 21, 2018 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    Well here in St. Joe I would say we are in a drought, now is it as bad as 2012? no, but 2012 was a high end extreme, thats like saying if the Missouri river is at 22 ft here( flood stage is 17 feet) then its not a flood just a fat river because its not at 32 ft like during 1993. there are different levels of drought, and yes there the ‘boundary’ of what is and isn’t a drought is fuzzy depending on whom you talk to. the reason there is “belly aching” is because this is a weather blog where people who enjoy weather come to share their experiences, and yes when you have been getting missed by 90 percent of the big events for over a year, for a weather fan, that is MORE than enough to be a bit grumpy about, lol, yes here right now the grass is doing okay( but not great for the middle/ end of May), there are dormant areas in my lawn where there is full sun and the rest is hanging on( full disclosure, I hate mowing, and if the grass goes brown for 6 months I really don’t care, but for a fan of weather I want to see nice storms). yesterday was a nice day, I really enjoyed it, but getting .24 inch out of 6 hours of rain isn’t exactly what the doctor ordered, (areas under the trees stayed mostly dry). that being said, since we are on the “axis” of the drought, I still have hope that we may pop out of it this summer but we may just be one of the last spots to finally pop free. At the same time though, I will wait and see what accually happens, as we still have yet to fully pop out of this up here.

  18. NoBeachHere May 21, 2018 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Since there is not much weather wise, could you do a blog on the quasi permanent trough. A definition, past and current placement. Also, is it possible that has been there, around us, do you figure this in to the LRC cycles? Or is it something else that’s a puzzle? Any frequency to its movements?

    • Gary May 21, 2018 at 6:45 pm - Reply


      This is a nice request. Let me see if I can come up with something in tomorrows blog.


      • NoBeachHere May 21, 2018 at 8:17 pm - Reply

        Thank You Sir

  19. Emaw May 21, 2018 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry. For crying out loud we live in the midwest, we’re land locked! No mountains, no oceans, no great lakes, this is what you get here. People have survived here for a long time just chill and let ‘er eat! 😉

  20. Anonymous May 21, 2018 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    I would appreciate an updated 12 week forecast. This week is still saying near average temps but actual forecast is calling for highs in the upper 80s and even some 90s.

    I understand that forecasting that far out is difficult but if it is going to continue to miss by so much then…why bother?

    • Gary May 21, 2018 at 8:44 pm - Reply

      I agree with you. The forecasts that are written are quite accurate, the numbers are a click of one of six choices we have. So, when we get to a warmer week than we expected, we must go and click a different box. We have not been good at doing such a thing. I will look into it.


  21. Richard May 21, 2018 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    Quite a dig at the NWS.
    Gary, what say you about this, if you get the time to read it.

    • Gary May 21, 2018 at 8:51 pm - Reply

      This is pretty complex. There is so much to discuss here. As we move forward with more automation, forecasting accuracy will take a hit, and then gradually improve. But, when it comes to a good human forecaster, there is a very large difference. This weekend is a perfect example. My take on the severe weather risks was very different from others. I could open a big can of worms here, but there was a tweet that came out that suggested Saturday’s conditions were most similar to the Ruskin Heights day in 1957, and this well known scientist in the meteorology community suggested KC would be in the highest risk area. This is where there is a big difference. This scientist didn’t do rule #1 and #2, and only did rule #3 of forecasting. If you understand the LRC, and you look outside, and, you don’t just look at the models, then you have a chance at being accurate. Saturday was quite obviously a much lower risk than what was being threatened.

      Anyway, I went off track here. This article is interesting. And, I need more time to digest.


    • Snow Miser May 21, 2018 at 9:57 pm - Reply

      When I lived in the Seattle area I used to read Cliff Mass’ blog all the time, still read it sometimes now. He’s definitely got strong opinions about many things, but overall I think he’s mostly spot on with his observations. If I were president I’d love to have him run the National Weather Service. 😉

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