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Department of Agronomy

Kansas State University

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Manhatan, KS 66506

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Extension Agronomy

Kansas climate basics: Pt. 7 Daily precipitation and snowfall records

(Editor’s note: The following article is one in a series of articles in the Agronomy eUpdate that examines the historical climate observations in Kansas. The methods used to do this analysis are explained in the introductory article in this series, from eUpdate No. 571, May 20, 2016. – Steve Watson)

State precipitation and snowfall records for a 24-hour period

Precipitation events. The frequency of extreme precipitation events in Kansas has increased from 1891 to 2015. More 24-hour precipitation records were set during the most recent decade than in any other decade since 1891 (Fig. 1a). The highest recorded 24-hour precipitation event was 9.1 inches in August, 2005 (Fig. 1). The range of station 24-hour precipitation records in Kansas is from 4.4 to 9.1 inches. The majority of record precipitation events have occurred in May, July, and September. Interestingly, there is a relatively lower probability to establish a record in August (Fig. 1b). 

Figure 1. Top panel: 24-hour precipitation records (inches) and dates for 30 climate stations across Kansas over 1891 to 2015. Bottom panel: (a) histogram of years for 24-hour precipitation records in Kansas; and (b) histogram of months for 24-hour precipitation records in Kansas.

 

Snowfall events. For the 24-hour snowfall records across the state, the National Centers for Environmental Information documented a 30-inch snowfall event in Pratt in March, 2009. The station 24-hour snowfall records shown in Figure 2 range from 12 to 27 inches. The most frequent decade for establishing a snowfall record was the 1910s (Fig. 2a). March is the most frequent month in which record 24-hour snowfall events have occurred in Kansas.

 

Figure 2. Top panel: 24-hour snowfall records (inches) and dates for 30 climate stations across Kansas over 1891 to 2015. Bottom panel: (a) histogram of years for 24-hour snowfall records in Kansas; and (b) histogram of months for 24-hour snowfall records observed in Kansas.

 

 

Xiaomao Lin, State Climatologist, Department of Agronomy
xlin@ksu.edu

John Harrington Jr., Department of Geography
jharrin@ksu.edu

Ignacio Ciampitti, Crop Production and Cropping Systems Specialist
ciampitti@ksu.edu

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
mknapp@ksu.edu