Some relief from Kansas City’s extended dry weather could come today and Saturday.

The math is startling: The National Weather Service reports that from Jan. 1 through Wednesday, just 1.87 inches of precipitation has been recorded at Kansas City International Airport. That’s 2.31 inches shy of average. Less than half an inch of rain has fallen this month.

The Weather Service this week also posted this telling figure: From Oct. 8 through Tuesday of this week, just 5.7 inches of precipitation fell – the second lowest amount on record for that period.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report, posted Thursday, continues to show most of Missouri – including the Kansas City area – in “moderate drought.” That’s the second highest on a five-point scale.

All or parts of a dozen counties toward the middle of the state – Warrensburg to Columbia to Carrollton – are in severe drought. Several pockets – St. Louis, south-central Missouri, the northwest fringe of counties – are listed merely as abnormally dry.

Rain is in the forecast for today and Saturday. The Weather Service puts the chances at 50 percent today, 70 percent tonight and Saturday and 40 percent Saturday. Thunderstorms are expected with the rain in places and could produce hail and high winds. Heavy rain is not expected except in areas with thunderstorms.

The recent warm weather tempts people to begin thinking about putting out bedding plants and other tender vegetation, but gardeners know to hold off. In Jackson County, on April 12 there’s still a 50-50 chance that temperatures at some point will fall to 32 or lower, according to the University of Missouri Extension office. It takes another two weeks for that probability to slip to 10 percent. Wait until May 6 for a 10 percent chance of temperatures slipping below 36.