May was the wettest month in Kansas history, with local rainfall totals also reaching historic levels.
“The 17.20 inches measured in Arkansas City inundated their record
13.02 inches measured in 1993 by 4.18 inches,” according to the National Weather Service’s forecast office in Wichita.
But other parts of the county got soaked even more. Three miles northeast of Winfield saw 19.75 inches; the normal monthly total there is 5.83 inches.
And three miles southwest of Rock, according to the forecast office, 26.14 inches fell, making it the wettest spot in the region, and far exceeding its monthly average of 5.14 inches.
Besides Arkansas City, other cities that broke record rainfalls were:
• Iola 16.70 inches
• Independence 16.67 inches
• El Dorado 15.96 inches
• Parsons 14.77 inches
Statewide, the average rainfall in May was 10.26 inches, the Kansas State University Weather Data Library says, the wettest month on records going back 125 years.
The Kansas News Service reported the deluge broke the previous record set in June 1951.
In addition, 19 weather stations recorded monthly totals of more than 20 inches.
The amount of water moving through the state was the highest the U.S. Geological Survey’s Kansas Water Science Center has ever seen.
The forecast office in Wichita issued 49 flash flood warnings in May, 25 greater than the 24 that were issued in 2002 and 2007.
“The flooding was so severe that on about five occasions the county flood warning that was issued covered nearly all of central and south-central Kansas,” the NWS said. “Numerous flood warnings had to be extended.”