Kansas Climate: What is the latest drought status for Kansas?
It was another dry week across most of Kansas (Figures 1 & 2). Statewide precipitation averaged zero. The West-Central Division averaged the most precipitation, at 0.03 inches or 23 percent of normal. The only other division averaging above zero was the Northwest, with an average of 0.1 inches, 8 percent of normal. Highest weekly totals for the week ending on December 10th were: 0.17 inches at Tribune 13NNE, Greeley County (NWS); 0.20 inches at Weskan 0.4 NNW, Wallace County (CoCoRaHS) and 0.32 inches at the Scandia Mesonet, Republic County (Mesonet).
Figure 1. Weekly precipitation for December 4-10, 2019 (Weather Data Library)
Figure 2. Departure from normal precipitation for December 4-10, 2019 (Weather Data Library). The darker color indicates a greater departure from normal.
Despite a cold end to the week, overall the week was much warmer than normal across the state (Figures 3 & 4). Statewide average temperature was 38.7 oF, 5.7 degrees warmer than normal. The North Central Division was the warmest, with an average of 38.1 oF, 7.0 degrees warmer than normal.
Figure 3. Average mean temperatures for December 4-10, 2019 (Weather Data Library)
Figure 4. Departure from normal temperatures for December 4-10, 2019. The darker the color, the greatest departure from normal (Weather Data Library).
The combination of warm, dry conditions resulted in expansion of the moderate to severe drought. In particular, moderate drought pushed further east into the South Central Division (Figure 5). Currently, less than half of the state is drought free, and 1.6 percent is in extreme drought. Given the fact that this is a dry time of the year, even with above-normal precipitation, the most severe areas will be slow to improve. On the other hand, a dry winter will provide some relief to the eastern third of the state where rivers and reservoir levels are still high.
Figure 5. Current drought status for Kansas as of December 10, 2019 (US Drought Monitor)
Mary Knapp, Assistant State Climatologist
Christopher “Chip” Redmond, Kansas Mesonet Manager