Spring weather outlook
The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center has released its latest outlook, which covers the February through April time period. Since this period marks the beginning of the wetter portion of our year, it is of great interest. Unfortunately, the precipitation outlook is neutral for most of the state. That means it is equally likely to fall in any of the three categories: above normal, normal or below normal. Only the western portions of the state have an increased chance of above normal precipitation. While this would be welcome, even above-normal precipitation will result in limited improvement to the drought situation in the region. In extreme southwest Kansas the average precipitation amount for this 3-month period is less than 3 inches. In contrast, in southeast Kansas, average precipitation for the period can be more than10 inches.
Chances for an El Niño continue to fade. This is less of an issue as we move into the spring when other factors can have greater influence on local conditions. Warm temperatures over the weekend (Jan. 16-18) are not expected to last. The 6-10 day, 8-14 day, and 3-month outlooks are all showing an increased probability of cooler-than-normal temperatures. This does not mean that the excessively cold temperatures of early January will be repeated. The most favorable pattern would be to have the cold weather dominate in February rather than April.
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library