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August rain provides feast for late crops

Staff writer

Marion County’s rainfall increased across the board in August, reaching just shy of 7 inches in areas.

While the increase was significant, it hit some areas more than others.

Marion reservoir received 5.02 while Peabody had 6.95 inches.

Several other areas in the county saw more than 5 inches during the month, with Durham getting 5.76 inches and Gossel at 5.36 inches.

Goesel has seen the most drastic jump in the later part of the month.

As of Aug. 24, the National Weather Service in Wichita listed Goessel’s rainfall at 3.68 inches, broadcaster Eric Metzger said. This disparity is not rare.

“I have seen one half of the street get an inch-and-a-half and the other half get nothing,” he said.

While a break from the dry weather is appreciated, it is not soon enough for many.

“Even the July rains were too late for most of the corn,” manager of the Peabody branch of Mid-Kansas Cooperative Chuck Knight said. “It helped some of the later stuff.”

“It’ll be good for the beans,” Knight said. “It’s too late for everything else.”

Rains helped replenish local water, which is still needed.

“The last few rains have helped get water into the ponds, which is needed the most,” Marion resident Lyle Leppke said.

Hillsboro had 6.12 inches for the month, more than an inch above May’s average — usually the wettest month — according to the Weather Channel’s website. The city saw a full two inches more than the August average.

The disparity in precipitation compounds over time because areas with heavy rain are more likely to get rain in the future, Metzger said.

This has to do with convective precipitations, which are intense, short periods of rainfall, he said.

The lack of rain in the early months prompted Leppke to try his hand growing milo.

“There’s not very much milo that’s been planted over the years,” he said. “This year I decided to plant milo because it looked like it could stand the drier weather better.”

Now that milo is in its peak growth period, the fields are getting more than enough rain.

Since the weather had been so dry, Leppke had not put up a rain gauge, thinking it wasn’t worth it. Now he has the gauge up.

“We finally got rain and I thought, ‘Well, let’s see how much we get,’” he said. “I put up a rain gauge a week or so ago and we already got about 1.25 inches.”

Even the areas with less rain are above average. The county’s annual average rainfall rose above 30 inches once since 2012, according to a study by Kansas State University.

Last modified Sept. 5, 2018

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