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Kansas Mesonet rolls out new rain tool

The new tool from Kansas Mesonet measures the days between precipitation events.

Jennifer M. Latzke, Editor

April 19, 2021

2 Min Read
green maize field in front of dramatic clouds and rain
RAIN: Knowing when the last measurable rainfall occurred helps farmers know if the herbicide they applied can be efficient in controlling weeds. A new tool from the Kansas Mesonet will help.BrilliantEye/Getty

Tracking the days between measurable precipitation events is now a little easier thanks to the Kansas Mesonet.

The Kansas Mesonet reports that it has created a new Consecutive Days Without Precipitation tool that reports the number of days since a measurable precipitation event. This information can help farmers trying to plan for effective chemical application and activation, crop performance assessment and drought or flood risk evaluation.

Consecutive Days Without Precipitation map

LAST RAINFALL?: The Kansas Mesonet’s new Consecutive Days Without Precipitation tool helps farmers and others find out the number of days since a measurable precipitation event at the station nearest them. (Courtesy of Kansas Mesonet)

“We were getting a lot of questions [from farmers] about how long it has been since an area had received a tenth of an inch, or a quarter-inch, which is usually the amount that helps activate chemicals,” says Mary Knapp, assistant Kansas state climatologist. She said farmers need this information if they have an herbicide failure, or if they didn’t get the weed control they were expecting.

The new tool's webpage, mesonet.k-state.edu/precip/consecutive, gives the number of consecutive days without rainfall for seven different thresholds, from as little as 0.10 inch to 2 inches. Any station that goes more than a year without rainfall is capped at 365 days.

The information is shown in map or chart format. The map format offers a state view, with numbers on each location of Mesonet stations that represents the current number of days since rainfall. Users can tap on that station to get details, and use the “change map” function from the dropdown menu to change the threshold.

The chart tab provides data for the past 365 days. Columns in black show the daily observed precipitation, while shaded blue areas show the number of days since precipitation for a given threshold.

Consecutive Days Without Precipitation data in chart format

DAYS BETWEEN RAIN: Kansas Mesonet’s new tool also offers data in chart format. (Courtesy of Kansas Mesonet)

Here is advice about the Consecutive Days Without Precipitation tool from the staff at Kansas Mesonet:

• Report timing. Amounts are reported from midnight to midnight, CST. So, if a station receives an inch before midnight and an inch after, it reports two 1-inch events, rather than a single 2-inch event.

• Localized data. The rainfall measurement at one station may differ even a short distance away.

• Liquid precipitation only. Mesonet stations only measure liquid precipitation. Freezing rain and snow aren’t measured until they melt, which may be some days after they fell.

Kansas State University Research and Extension Service contributed to this article.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer M. Latzke

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Through all her travels, Jennifer M. Latzke knows that there is no place like Kansas.

Jennifer grew up on her family’s multigenerational registered Angus seedstock ranch and diversified farm just north of Woodbine, Kan., about 30 minutes south of Junction City on the edge of the Kansas Flint Hills. Rock Springs Ranch State 4-H Center was in her family’s backyard.

While at Kansas State University, Jennifer was a member of the Sigma Kappa Sorority and a national officer for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. She graduated in May 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science. In August 2000 Jennifer started her 20-year agricultural writing career in Dodge City, Kan., on the far southwest corner of the state.

She’s traveled across the U.S. writing on wheat, sorghum, corn, cotton, dairy and beef stories as well as breaking news and policy at the local, state and national levels. Latzke has traveled across Mexico and South America with the U.S. Wheat Associates and toured Vietnam as a member of KARL Class X. She’s traveled to Argentina as one of 10 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism. And she was part of a delegation of AAEA: The Ag Communicators Network members invited to Cuba.

Jennifer’s an award-winning writer, columnist, and podcaster, recognized by the Kansas Professional Communicators, Kansas Press Association, the National Federation of Presswomen, Livestock Publications Council, and AAEA. In 2019, Jennifer reached the pinnacle of achievements, earning the title of “Writer of Merit” from AAEA.

Trips and accolades are lovely, but Jennifer says she is happiest on the road talking to farmers and ranchers and gathering stories and photos to share with readers.

“It’s an honor and a great responsibility to be able to tell someone’s story and bring them recognition for their work on the land,” Jennifer says. “But my role is also evolving to help our more urban neighbors understand the issues our Kansas farmers face in bringing the food and fiber to their store shelves.”

She spends her time gardening, crafting, watching K-State football, and cheering on her nephews and niece in their 4-H projects. She can be found on Twitter at @Latzke.

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