Three words come to mind when I think about living near the 99th Meridian these days: rain (snow, or the lack thereof), wind, and dust. Precipitation is a defining characteristic of the 99th Meridian, and that's even more the case if you travel one Meridian West to the 100th, which for many marks the beginning […]

Three words come to mind when I think about living near the 99th Meridian these days: rain (snow, or the lack thereof), wind, and dust.
Precipitation is a defining characteristic of the 99th Meridian, and that's even more the case if you travel one Meridian West to the 100th, which for many marks the beginning of the Great Plains (there's even a small marker that commemorates the 100th Meridian where it slices through Dodge City along East Wyatt Earp Boulevard).
The 99th Meridian is generally better off precipitation wise than the 100th, at least that's what a 'Kansas Annual Precipitation' map I picked up at the State Fair several years ago shows. That's one reason that the Ogallala Aquifer is slowly being depleted in western Kansas: there's simply not enough precipitation to recharge it.
Around these parts, if the rain falls, the wheat (and other crops) grows, and the future looks bright. When the rains essentially shut off like it has the past three months) and the winds starts blowing, two worries come to the minds of residents of the 99th Meridian: fire danger and dust. After all, we've had two major fires (and a smaller one west of town near the cotton gin) in the last two years. Furthermore, the 1930s still haunt our collective memories. None of us want to experience what our parents and grandparents shared stories about.
So, we just have to keep holding out hope that the rains will come again one day. When we don't find anything worth mentioning in our rain gauges, we just grip the steering wheel tighter and head down the road toward a hopefully better tomorrow.
Kansas, the band, once said, 'All we are is dust in the wind.' That's a good reminder, but, nevertheless, hopefully it will rain or snow soon, and we'll be seeing less of that around here.