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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

Kansas weather summary for December 2014: Milder trend

December 2014 was much milder than November in Kansas. With the mild weather came clouds. This December saw an average of just 57 percent of the possible sunshine. In comparison, last year that average was 79 percent of possible sunshine. Statewide temperatures averaged 34.6 degrees F, which was 2.6 degrees warmer than normal. The Northwest Division came closest to average at 29.9 degrees, or 0.9 degrees warmer than normal. The Southwest Division saw the greatest departure. The average temperature for December in that region was 33.6 degrees, or 3.7 degrees warmer than normal. The warmer-than-average temperatures didn’t mean that the month was without cold weather. All divisions reached lows in the single digits. The coldest reading occurred at the end of the month, as an Arctic front issued in the New Year. The coldest reading was -16 degrees at Brewster, in Thomas County, on the 31st.  North Central Kansas also had lows in the double digits below zero. Sub-zero readings were also recorded in the West Central, Central, and Northeastern divisions.

Statewide average precipitation was 1.20 inches, which was 118 percent of normal. Unfortunately, that excess only equals 0.17 inches. The West Central and North Central Divisions averaged below normal for the month, while the Northwest and Southwest divisions tied for the greatest percent of normal at 157 percent in both divisions. The departure from normal was slight in actual amounts at 0.38 inches in the southwest and 0.24 inches in the northwest. 

There was one snow event, but amounts were generally not troublesome.  As typical, December was quiet on the severe weather side. There was only one report of severe weather in December: a rare winter tornado. This was an EF0 tornado reported in Harper County on the 14th.  This is only the sixth December since 1950 to record a tornado.

 

 

Drought conditions persist across the state, particularly in the west. There was some degradation in the eastern portions of the state. By the end of November, the drought-free area of Kansas had shrunk to 29 percent. This dropped another 10 percent in December. The fact that December is generally one of our drier months means that even above-normal precipitation has only limited benefits. However, a continued dry pattern is likely to result in further expansion of drought in the North Central Division. 

The likelihood of an El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) continues to diminish. It is still expected to switch to an El Niño event, but it also remains to be seen what impact will be felt.  Other global circulation patterns, including the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), can have significant impacts on the winter season. The January temperature outlook is neutral for most of the state, with cooler-than-normal temperatures for the northwestern areas. The precipitation outlook is also neutral, with precipitation equally likely to be above normal, normal, or below normal.  .

 

 

Dec 2014

Kansas Climate Division Summary

 

Precipitation (inches)

Temperature (oF)

 

Dec 2014

Jan through Dec 2014

 

 

Monthly Extremes

Division

Total

Dep. 1

% Normal

Total

Dep. 1

% Normal

Ave

Dep. 1

Max

Min

Northwest

0.83

0.26

153

16.89

-4.47

79

29.9

0.9

71

-18

West Central

0.54

-0.09

88

19.84

-0.93

94

32.4

3.0

65

-7

Southwest

1.05

0.38

153

18.33

-1.57

91

33.6

3.7

60

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Central

0.66

-0.22

71

22.81

-5.20

80

32.3

1.7

74

-13

Central

1.33

0.40

139

26.03

-3.26

89

34.3

2.9

64

-7

South Central

1.25

0.13

113

25.30

-6.02

80

34.7

3.1

63

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northeast

1.36

0.14

110

28.98

-6.02

82

35.1

2.4

70

-6

East Central

1.84

0.44

130

27.70

-10.22

72

36.0

2.7

63

3

Southeast

1.85

0.03

103

31.33

-10.16

75

37.4

3.3

67

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATE

1.20

0.17

118

24.07

-5.31

82

34.0

2.6

74

-18

 

                 

 

1. Departure from 1981-2010 normal value

Source: KSU Weather Data Library

 

 

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
mknapp@ksu.edu