The drought that has been gripping parts of Kansas appears to be easing.
Just a few months ago, about 97 percent of Kansas was considered to be experiencing drought conditions. Now, much of central and eastern Kansas is back to normal. That's according to Mary Knapp, with Kansas State University, who called the turnaround "exceptional."
“In central and southeastern Kansas we’ve actually gone from drought to deluge. We’ve got a number of locations that have seen incredible amounts of rain in the last three weeks,” Knapp said.
The U.S. Geological Survey has a number of data collection stations scattered across Kansas. The stations transmit real-time data to the USGS every 1-4 hours. Emergency transmissions, such as during floods, may be more frequent.
The Kansas Water Office is promoting Water Alert, a service that brings instant, customized updates about water conditions to Kansas residents.
The U.S. Geological Survey created Water Alert to give people timely information about river, lake and groundwater conditions. It's a nationwide service, but there are over a dozen data collection stations in the Wichita area alone.
City of Wichita officials announced Friday the drought that threatened the area’s water supply the two past summers and heightened conservation efforts is officially over.
In a release Friday, the city reports Cheney Lake, the city’s primary water source, reached full capacity in the early hours of Thursday from 73.6 percent on July 29. Earlier this year, the lake was as low as 58 percent capacity, causing city officials to encourage conservation efforts through a media campaign, a rebate program and other measures aimed at extending the area’s water supply.
A new government report shows recent rain and cooler temperatures are relieving the stress on Kansas farm crops.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that producers in many areas of central Kansas saw beneficial amounts of rain in the past week.
Central Kansas had the biggest improvement in topsoil moisture, although eastern and western sections also showed some improvement. Topsoil moisture is still in short supply across 56 percent of Kansas.
Spotty rain showers across much of the state this week were too little to improve drought conditions in western Kansas.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that dryland farm crops and pastures are still suffering from lack of rain. The agency said it has received reports of failed corn and sorghum crops in areas missed by the rain, as well as fields damaged by hail or wind.
There was a significant development this weekend with water levels at Cheney Reservoir.
Last Thursday's storm created heavy drainage into the lake, causing the level to rise from 64 percent last Thursday to 72 percent on Saturday. As of Monday morning, Cheney is up more than 13,000 acre feet of water since before the rain event last Thursday.