Kansas Weather Summary for February - Cool and dry
While most locations saw at least some moisture in February, overall the precipitation was below-normal for the month. Eight locations, mainly is the Southwest Division, saw just a trace of precipitation during February. State-wide, the average precipitation was 0.53 inches or 41 percent of normal. The Southeast Division was the only area that was above-normal for the month, with an average of 1.99 inches or 109 percent of normal. The Southwest Division, with an average of just 0.02 inches, had the lowest percent of normal with only 2 percent. The greatest monthly precipitation totals were 4.37 inches at Coffey Waterworks, Montgomery County (NWS) and 4.05 inches at McCune 1.6 NW, Crawford County (CoCoRaHS). Most of the precipitation came in the last week of February.
There was some February snow with twelve locations setting daily records for snowfall. The greatest daily snowfall report was 4.5 inches at Tribune 1W, Greeley County, on the 6th. The greatest snowfall totals for the month were 9.6 inches at Goodland, Sherman County (NWS) and 16.0 inches at St. Francis 12.1 NW, Cheyenne County (CoCoRaHS).
February continued the pattern of wide temperatures swings as might be expected with the dry air in place. The statewide average temperature was 30.7 degree F, or 3.3 degrees cooler-than-normal. The warm days weren’t persistent enough to outweigh the very cold start to the month. All divisions averaged below-normal for February. The Northwest Division had the greatest departure from normal, with an average of 26.7 degrees F or 5.0 degrees cooler-than-normal. The Southeast Division came closest to normal with an average temperature of 34.6 degree F and a departure of -1.9 degrees. The warmest temperature reported for the month was 80 degrees F at Ashland, Clark County, on the 15th and Tallgrass Prairie Park, Chase County, on the 19th. The coldest reading was -10 degrees F at Marysville, Marshall County, on the 5th. Records were set on both the cold and warm end of the spectrum. On the cold side, there were 7 new record low maximum temperatures and 7 new record low minimum temperatures. On the warm side, there were 22 new record high maximum temperatures and 17 new record high minimums.
There were no severe weather reports during the month of February. In addition to several winter weather advisories, there were several days with extreme fire danger.
Extreme northwest Kansas saw improvement in drought status, due to the wet conditions in January and February. The rest of the state saw further deterioration. Extreme drought conditions now cover almost 10 percent of the state. Severe drought has expanded to a quarter of the state while moderate drought covers an additional 36 percent of the state.
March weather outlook
The March outlook has a slight chance for drier-than-normal conditions state wide, with an increased chance of warmer-than-normal temperatures. Since March is a critical transition month, that combination is likely to result in further deterioration of the drought conditions. With the wet summer in 2017 and current dryness, increased fire danger continues.
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library