The Garden City Telegram
9/24/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Fall relief

Change in season signals an end to punishing heat.

Another summer of searing heat could not end soon enough.

The new fall season has brought significant wind and blowing dust in southwest Kansas, but at least delivered the promise of cooler temperatures to come. That's the good news in a region becoming all too familiar with extremely hot summertime weather.

Naturally, though, the concern surrounding drought will linger. At least rain that fell recently was a positive development, as precipitation totals for the year continued to inch in the right direction.

The year's total precipitation topped 11 inches as of Sunday night in Garden City, with normal for the year at more than 16 inches. Even though that still sounds like a significant shortfall, it was progress. And, it's worth noting that September precipitation so far has bucked recent trends by eclipsing the normal month-to-date total of 1.08 inches, with seven days of moisture accounting for 1.22 inches as of 7 p.m. Sunday.

Meanwhile, the punishing heat of late left its mark, as a summer that saw many days top 100 degrees put people in a funk.

Area farmers and producers were left to tally the toll of weather that once again left crops to wither, and put livestock in dangerous situations. Other people who had to work outside also suffered.

It also was no surprise to see how the extreme heat made otherwise enjoyable outdoor activities too difficult to endure. Heat waves frustrated people to the point that many deemed it better to just stay in air-conditioned environs.

Even though the local forecast called for temperatures closing in on 90 degrees in the week to come, fall's official arrival this past Sunday meant it's time for southwest Kansans to get ready for months of relief from summer's searing conditions.

Snow was spotted at the end of this past weekend in Colorado's high country, after all.

With yet another scorching summer still fresh in the minds of southwest Kansans, any relief in lower temperatures would be a welcome and needed change. Indeed, the imminent shift toward cooler, more pleasant weather could not come soon enough.