A wet weather pattern over the course of the last five days brought much-needed moisture and helped some areas escape drought conditions, according to weather officials, but the weekend rain also brought flooding and some damages to the area.
Bill Turner, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Dodge City, said Monday that July 2018 will go down as the second wettest July in the history of Garden City.
This month alone, Garden City has received 9.13 inches of rain, Turner said. According to him, the wettest month on record is 10.46 inches in July 1979.
“That puts it into perspective that this isn’t normal,” Turner said of the recent precipitation. “Normal for July (rainfall) is 2.6 inches… The records for Garden City go back to 1948.”
Most area counties received an average of 1 to 4 inches of rain over the weekend, though some areas received more, Turner said. From Friday night through Sunday night Garden City Regional Airport measured about 4.5 inches of rain.
“We knew it would be really wet,” Turner said, noting that the NWS began monitoring weather conditions that were expected to bring significant precipitation to the area about 10 days ago. “It’s called the Northwest Flow. It's a very wet weather pattern for us in the summer… It moves mostly during the evening and night. We got it three or four nights in a row, and it’s mostly been favoring the more western counties, which is typical.”
Turner also said that the unusually wet July has helped considerably with the drought conditions.
“The drought has really been eaten away with these episodes of thunderstorms. The drought has essentially been eliminated for the past few days, and this summer. This has been a very wet summer, which we needed,” he said. “We’ve benefitted from that. It’s very green and lots of water.”
Turner said a small area that stretches from Elkhart to Dodge City is still considered to be in moderate drought.
“It’s been a very widespread rain,” he said. "That’s kind of the cool thing about this, it hasn’t just been one widespread rain, it’s been widespread rain over and over again.”
According to Finney County Emergency Manager Gilberto Valerio, Garden City saw flooding overnight Saturday into Sunday, and then more heavy rainfall overnight Sunday also brought flooding, which resulted in damage to some homes.
On Sunday, in the 600 Block of South Farmland Road near the south side of TP&L, some houses flooded. Valerio said it is typical for that area to flood after heavy rainfall.
There was also an area of about 10 to 15 houses near Marie and Schulman avenues that flooded on Sunday.
“We had to evacuate two residences and a total of five people,” Valerio said. “We’ve provided them emergency housing with the American Red Cross for a day a so because their electricity was turned off and their basements were flooded, and they didn’t have any drinking water.”
Valerio said there was also a house on Main Street in Holcomb that suffered from a collapsed roof on Sunday due to the rain.
Valerio said Garden City did receive some street flooding late Saturday night. He himself had trouble driving home, he said, because of the flooding.
“It was late at night and there was still people driving out in that kind of weather. It was pretty bad…” Valerio said. “They were driving with water on the roadways. It doesn’t take very much for someone to lose control of their vehicle.”
At about 10 p.m. Sunday, a “long-lived” storm that began in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and trekked across the Midwest into eastern Colorado and western Kansas hit Stanton County, bringing 80 mph wind gusts and tennis ball-sized hail, Turner said.
Turner said some of the damage in the Johnson City and Manter areas in Stanton County included vehicle damage and vehicles overturned on the highways.
“They’re still assessing damage in Stanton County,” he said.
Turner said weather is expected to be quieter for the remainder of the week. Temperature lows for the area were expected to dip to around 50 degrees Monday night into Tuesday morning.
Temperatures for the rest of the week for the area are expected to be in the mid- to upper-80s, then on Friday through the weekend are expected to reach normal summer temperatures in the mid- to upper 90s.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the historical significance of the heavy rainfall in July, which is the second wettest July ever recorded in Garden City.
Contact Josh Harbour at firstname.lastname@example.org.