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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 February: Extended cold

Despite some record warm readings at a few locations, February was characterized by colder than normal conditions. This was particularly true during the last week of the month when temperatures averaged 17 degrees cooler than normal. For the entire month of February, statewide temperatures averaged 30.1 degrees F which was 3.1 degrees cooler than normal. This places it in the cold third of the average February temperatures, as the 31st coldest since 1895. The Northwest Division came closest to average at 31.0 degrees F or exactly normal. The Northeastern Division saw the greatest departure. The average temperature for February in that region was 24.7 degrees F, or 7.6 degrees cooler than normal. The colder-than-average temperatures didn’t mean that the month was without warm weather. All divisions reached highs in the mid to upper seventies. The warmest reading for the month was 85 degrees F at Hays. The coldest reading occurred at the middle of the month, as an Arctic front again moved into the state. The coldest reading was a -8 degrees F at Howard, in Elk County, on the 19th. Sub-zero readings were recorded in all but the three southern divisions and the Central Division. There were 79 record maximum daily temperatures. None of these set new records for the month. There were 8 record daily warm minimum temperatures set and 5 records tied. On the cold side of things, 52 record daily low maximum temperatures were recorded and 15 records were tied. There were 4 record daily low minimum temperatures set, and 14 records tied.

Statewide average precipitation was 0.88 inches, which was 94 percent of normal. The Northwest, West Central, Central, South Central and Southeast divisions averaged below normal for the month. The Southeast Division had the lowest percentage of normal at 61 percent, which translates to a deficit of 0.68 inches for the month. The areas with greatest departure from normal on the positive side only had slight increases. The Southwest Division had 0.27 inches more than normal, which was 161 percent of normal. The Northeast division, which had the second largest percent of normal at 117 percent, was just 0.21 inches above normal.

As typical, February was quiet on the severe weather side. There were snow events, but amounts were generally not troublesome. The highest daily total reported was 7 inches at Axtell, in Marshall County (NWS), on the 1st (NWS) and 12.4 inches at Barnes, Washington County (CoCoRaHS) also on the first. Unfortunately, the moisture from the snow was limited.

 

Drought conditions persist across the state, particularly in the west. There was some degradation in the eastern portions of the state. The drought-free portion of the state expanded slightly. The wet start to February brought a brief halt to further deterioration. However, a continued dry pattern is likely to result in a rapid expansion of more severe drought conditions. March is well into our wetter part of the year, and deficits can accumulate rapidly, particularly in the eastern third of the state. The El Niño conditions are now present in the Pacific, but are weak and an El Niño event has yet to be declared. As we move later into spring, the impacts are less consistent. Other global circulation patterns, including the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), can have significant impacts on the spring season. The March temperature outlook calls for cooler-than-normal conditions statewide. The precipitation outlook is neutral, with precipitation equally likely to be above normal, normal or below normal.  

 

 

 

Table 1

Feb 2015

Kansas Climate Division Summary

 

Precipitation (inches)

Temperature (oF)

 

Feb 2015

2015, Jan through Feb

 

 

Monthly Extremes

Division

Total

Dep. 1

% Normal

Total

Dep. 1

% Normal

Ave

Dep. 1

Max

Min

Northwest

0.33

-0.21

64

0.44

-0.55

46

31.6

0.0

81

-3

West Central

0.38

-0.21

66

0.66

-0.44

59

32.9

-0.1

83

-1

Southwest

0.82

0.27

161

1.32

0.30

134

35.1

-0.5

84

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Central

0.87

0.05

98

1.18

-0.27

78

26.8

-5.3

81

-7

Central

0.89

-0.12

86

1.29

-0.41

76

30.1

-4.0

85

0

South Central

0.93

-0.23

81

1.30

-0.69

66

32.1

-4.4

78

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northeast

1.33

0.21

117

1.52

-0.40

79

24.7

-7.6

73

-8

East Central

1.34

0.01

102

1.58

-0.70

70

27.0

-6.8

73

-1

Southeast

1.04

-0.68

61

1.35

-1.62

46

30.3

-6.3

76

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATE

0.88

-0.11

94

1.20

-0.53

74

30.1

-3.9

85

-8

 

                 

 

1. Departure from 1981-2010 normal value

Source: KSU Weather Data Library

 

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
mknapp@ksu.edu