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Department of Agronomy

Kansas State University

1712 Claflin Rd.

2004 Throckmorton PSC

Manhatan, KS 66506

785-532-6101

agronomy@ksu.edu

Extension Agronomy

May weather summary for Kansas: Drought Buster

The combination of cooler-than-normal temperatures and much higher-than-average precipitation in May resulted in significant improvement in the drought situation in Kansas. At the start of the month approximately 2 percent of the state was in extreme drought and only 9 percent was drought-free. By the end of the month only 6 percent of the state was in moderate drought and 67 percent was drought-free. 

The statewide average precipitation for the month was 7.73 inches -- 188 percent of normal. It ranks as the third wettest May since 1895. All divisions had greater-than-average precipitation for the month. The Northwest Division came closest to average at 113 percent of normal, with an average of 3.93 inches. The Southeast Division averaged the greatest overall precipitation at 10.63 inches, but that was just 186 percent of normal. The Southwest Division averaged 7.79 inches, which was 279 percent of normal. Lebo in Coffey County was the wettest NWS Cooperative observer station with 15.56 inches. The wettest station in the Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) was at Topeka 5.5 SE, Shawnee County, with 15.53 inches. Manhattan (Riley County) had the highest 24-hour total for the NWS network with 4.85 inches on the 5th. The highest daily total for the CoCoRaHS network was 7.92 at Webber 2.6 ENE, Jewell County on the 7th. Three all-time May record daily rainfall amounts were set: 3.83 inches at Lindsborg on the 5th, 3.72 inches at Overbrook on the 22nd and 3.95 inches at John Redmond on the 28th.

 

The May temperatures were cooler-than-normal.  The mean monthly temperature was 61.6 degrees F, or 1.9 degrees cooler than normal. This ranks as the 31st coldest May in the 121-year record. That would place it in the upper portion of the coldest third on the record. The coldest reading was 29 degrees F at Norton (Norton County) and Oberlin (Decatur County) on May 12th.  The warmest reading was 95 degrees F, Sharon Springs (Wallace County) on the 20th. The widespread low temperatures on the 12th of May continued to stress winter wheat, particularly in fields where wheat was flowering. Additionally, the cool, wet conditions have resulted in uneven emergence in the spring planted crops, such as corn and soybeans. The warmest divisions were the Southeast and East Central, which averaged 1.0 degrees cooler than normal. The Southwest had the largest departure with an average of 61.1 degrees F, or 2.7 degrees cooler than normal. With the cooler-than-average temperatures for the month, it is not surprising that 99 new record daily cool highs were set. None of those records were new record for the month. There were 7 records set for high daily maximums. On the low temperature side, fewer records were set. There were 18 record low minimums set and 2 record high minimums recorded.

 

 

Drought conditions improved dramatically in May. Only small pockets of moderate drought remain in extreme southwest Kansas and parts of north central Kansas. However, continued normal to above-normal precipitation is needed to continue improvements. Also, some long-term hydrological deficits are in place affecting some water supplies and reservoirs. For example, Norton, Cedar Bluff, Kirwin, and Webster reservoirs are all less than 75 percent of conservation pool.

 

 

May 2015

Kansas Climate Division Summary

 

Precipitation (inches)

Temperature (oF)

 

May 2015

2015 Jan through May

 

 

Monthly Extremes

Division

Total

Dep. 1

% Normal

Total

Dep. 1

% Normal

Ave

Dep. 1

Max

Min

Northwest

3.93

0.47

113

7.16

-0.67

92

57.9

-2.3

93

29

West Central

5.83

2.80

199

8.69

1.26

118

58.9

-2.3

95

32

Southwest

7.73

5.00

279

10.67

3.92

156

61.1

-2.7

91

37

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Central

5.11

1.03

122

9.29

-0.78

90

61.2

-2.0

93

30

Central

7.59

3.32

178

11.42

0.54

104

62.1

-2.2

92

32

South Central

9.52

5.13

215

15.00

3.29

128

62.9

-2.4

87

34

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northeast

7.95

3.16

167

12.65

0.40

103

62.7

-1.1

87

37

East Central

9.80

4.65

188

14.82

1.19

107

63.2

-1.0

86

36

Southeast

10.63

4.84

186

16.65

0.99

107

64.4

-1.0

86

38

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATE

7.73

3.56

188

12.01

1.33

114

61.6

-1.9

95

29

 

                 

 

1. Departure from 1981-2010 normal value

Source: KSU Weather Data Library

 

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
mknapp@ksu.edu