This week brought the most optimistic sign in a long time that the prolonged drought may finally be easing its grip on Kansas.
Most of central and eastern Kansas received up to two inches of rain on Tuesday, followed by scattered showers across the state on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by downright downpours that threatened two-thirds of the state with flooding over the weekend.
Flooding of course, is no guarantee that drought is at an end. Some of the worst flooding ever een on the Republican River in northeast Colorado and southern Nebraska, came at the end of May in 1935 -- just six weeks after "Black Friday", the worst dust storm of the Dust Bowl on April 14.
But rain does bring a lot more optimism that heat and wind.
The system that brought continuous rain from Friday night through Saturday and Sunday also brought high temperatures in the 70s, a welcome relief after a long string of 95 to 105-degree days.
The first flood warnings came in Barton County where Great Bend saw overflowing creeks and streams along with flooding of low-lying farmland. And much as I feel for producers who face havoc in corn, soybean or milo fields, I have to confess that my first thought was “Hooray, there will be water in Quivira and Cheyenne Bottoms again!”
Last year’s severe drought meant no water in the scenic wetlands and very few of the migratory birds that usually stop in for a rest break on their way to their winter homes – and provide hours of enjoyment for people, including me, who love to take pictures of the visitors.
The widespread volume of rain did not extend to the driest areas of western, especially southwestern Kansas, where its going to take a lot more to halt drought, but that region also received welcome showers and cooler temperatures that brought a terrific break from the heat.
It also brought questions of “with it being so cool in July, will we see a harsh winter?”
I’m going with probably not but whatever lies ahead, I’m loving the sound of falling rain and the rush of cool, clean-smelling air pouring through the windows that are open for the first time in weeks. I’m going to just keep loving it and let the winter bring its own adventures.