How hot is it? You even feel sorry for the weeds

Kansas City StarJuly 24, 2012 

This summer, only the strong survive.

Even at the K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Center in Olathe, tomatoes fail to show fruit, flowers wilt and cucumbers turn bitter.

“Even the weeds are stressed,” said Rodney St. John with K-State Research and Extension, which will offer drought advice, tours and seminars at its Field Day this Saturday.

The weather later this week may hold a little relief from that stress, but not much.

Monday’s high was 104 degrees at Kansas City International Airport. The heat index was 108.

The forecast calls for cooler temperatures and a good chance of rain on Thursday.

The bad news is that the chance of rain comes with rising humidity, and that means the heat index will still be in the upper 90s.

After highs above 100 today and Wednesday, we can expect a comparatively cool Thursday — with a high of 92 — and a 60 percent chance of rain. But probably no more than a half inch.

National Weather Service meteorologist Mike July said that doesn’t mean the larger trend of drought is changing soon.

“It will be a spit in the bucket,” July said. “This little bit of rain isn’t going to make much of a difference.”

After Thursday, July said, the skies will be dry again and temperatures will start climbing back to 100 and beyond.

At Saturday’s Field Day, gardeners can take a lesson from this summer’s drought as horticulture experts show that it has been hard on them, like everyone else.

St. John said he’s had to give up on some beds of Kentucky bluegrass and zoysia.

Dennis Patton, a horticulture agent for the extension service, said the tomato harvest may already be over for many growers. Saturday may be a chance to learn lessons for next year.

“If you’re going to invest the time, the water, the money, you’re going to want a return,” he said.

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