The Garden City Telegram
2/24/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Snow surge

Road woes aside, weather still helpful in dry region.

The Weather Channel named it Q.

Others referred to it as the Blizzard of Oz.

Regardless of what it was called, last week's winter storm blasted Kansas with heavy snowfall that closed schools and businesses, hampered driving and left people digging out.

Less than a week later, we were left to brace for more.

The forecast called for another major winter storm — this one dubbed Rocky — to strike Sunday night and today in the Sunflower State. Storm Rocky was expected to pack a particularly wicked punch, with more ice and wind than Q delivered, along with plenty of snow.

Any new snow would blanket what Q left in significant totals throughout the state, including a decent amount in southwest Kansas.

Of course, more of the same would be welcome as a way to combat the drought.

Even though such snowstorms create hazardous conditions for motorists in particular, there's no arguing the benefit of the moisture in a painfully dry part of the country.

Whenever snow falls, much attention is placed on the state's winter wheat. The snow from Q — a wet, heavy kind that has a way of absorbing into the ground more effectively — helped the region make strides toward erasing a lingering deficit in precipitation for the year. Snow from Storm Rocky will help, too.

But there's still a long way to go before the wheat harvest. Another dry spell could negate much of the positive precipitation of late.

Combine this year's lack of moisture before last week's Storm Q with a two- or three-year deficit in precipitation, and it remains a grim picture.

Subsoil moisture levels need a boost to ensure a successful wheat crop. Farmers — and communities powered by agriculture, this one included — need to see more snow or rain raise moisture levels in the subsoil.

As inconvenient as a major snowstorm can be — and people still must use caution when heading out — it's impossible to overlook the importance of the precipitation.

And regardless of what unique name a winter storm may receive, one thing's for sure: The more wet, heavy snow it has to offer, the better.