Now that it’s June, it’s time to pack up the umbrellas and raincoats.
May brought 9.5 inches of rain to the Kansas City area, far more than the average of 5.23 inches for the month.
In fact, it rained more days than it didn’t — 17 in all, according to the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill.
May usually sees lots of storms and weather systems crossing the Plains that can dump “big batches of rain” on a single area, said meteorologist Jared Leighton.
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Rainfall hasn’t been consistent across the area. The Pleasant Hill station measured only 6.25 inches at its location.
While May rain has helped some local businesses and organizations, others have been washed away.
Storms didn’t slow down business for the City Market farmers market and daily retail vendors, said Sue Patterson, director of marketing and events for the City Market.
“This year, even though it was rainy, the intermittent rain still allowed business to happen,” Patterson said. “We had a really excellent month in May.”
In contrast to last year, rain mostly concentrated on the Kansas City area. Market vendors who bring produce from across Kansas and Missouri have been able to grow crops normally, Patterson said.
Jeff Tyson, owner of Advantaclear’s Heart of America franchise, a water damage restoration service, said he saw a considerable increase in service calls over the Memorial Day weekend. Most of the complaints were due to groundwater that seeped into walls and slabs.
“You can never really plan for it. It’s just odd that it rained this Memorial Day and the last Memorial Day weekend and it seems like the past five before that,” Tyson said.
The water put a damper on some local organizations.
Starlight Theatre had to cancel a performance of “Matilda the Musical” last Thursday because of severe weather. The theater offered to move the Thursday ticket holders to a new matinee showing Saturday afternoon.
About 1,500 people attended the matinee, said Barb Schulte, director of communications.
“They had a sense of being pioneers, of doing something novel,” she said. “We’re an outdoor theater, and people expect weather challenges each year.”
Ben Sharda, executive director of the Kansas City Community Gardens, said rain made it difficult for home gardeners to plant their gardens.
“Many people didn’t plant when they should have, or were late,” he said.
There are nearly 200 area schools enrolled in the program, and attempts to work in those schoolyard gardens were repeatedly rained out in May.
However, the rain didn’t sweep away sprouts planted before the weather arrived.
“Gardens that were planted early are loving it,” Sharda said.
It’s hard to tell what summer will bring for gardeners. While the weather clears this week, Sharda advises gardeners to take the opportunity to plant.
Some of the early rain may be caused by the decay of El Niño in the Pacific, said Tony Lupo, a professor in the Department of Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Missouri.
El Niño is an irregular series of climatic changes that occurs when water in the Pacific becomes unusually warm. As El Niño dwindles and ocean currents cool, a jet stream pushes across the whole country.
Typically, this would cause a dry spring and summer in the Midwest, but the change can also cause a wet spring in the gulf, then push north to the Kansas City area.
Through the summer, weather should become drier in Kansas City, Lupo said — good news for some businesses, but a possible worry for agriculture and gardens.