Recent snow and rain just a drop in deep drought bucket

The rains early this week had grass perking up and Brush Creek full in Mission Hills.

With three major snowstorms in February and March and yesterday’s heavy rains, you may be tempted to think the drought conditions that have plagued Johnson County — not to mention the western half of the state — may be a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

While February’s two snowstorms helped bring total precipitation to 1.49 inches, above the average of approximately 1.3 inches for the month, March totals were just .63 inches, well below the 2.44 inches average.

The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor Report for Kansas was released April 2 and showed Johnson County still in a moderate state of drought. In fact, the entire state has been under at least moderate drought conditions since July 2012.

It’s a situation that Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent Dennis Patton says won’t be erased by a few heavy precipitation events.

“The snow and rainfall has been very helpful but getting into and out of drought conditions is the result of the longer term weather patterns,” he said. “…Every rain event helps but we are still in a drought.”

On the plus side, however, Patton says the spring snow and this week’s rain should help spring plants start their normal growing cycles. Between Sunday and Monday’s rains, we accumulated more than an inch of precipitation.

“At least spring plants have moisture to start growing,” he said. “Now if we can continue with this trend then maybe the drought will be a memory not a present issue.”