Update on drought conditions in Kansas - May 11, 2018
After a record cold April, May has started with much warmer-than-normal temperatures. The statewide average temperature for the week ending on May 8th was 65.7 degrees F (6 degrees warmer-than-normal). The East Central Division had the largest departure from normal with an average of 68.9 degrees F which was 8.3 degrees warmer-than-normal. The Northwest Division was closest to normal with an average of 57.0 degrees F, which was just 0.9 degrees warmer-than-normal. As might be expected with the transition, there was a wide range in temperatures. In the northwest, the temperatures ranged from a high of 90 degrees F at Atwood on the 8th to a low of 20 degrees F at Brewster 4W on the 2nd. The warmest temperature reported in Kansas was 93 degrees F reported at Dodge City WFO, Ford County, on May 7. The coldest temperature was 20 degrees F recorded at Brewster 4W on the 2nd.
Figure 1. Weekly mean temperatures for Kansas during the week of May 2 – 8, 2018 via Cooperative Observer (COOP) and Kansas Mesonet.
Figure 2. Departures of weekly mean temperatures from normal for Kansas during the week of May 2 – 8, 2018 via Cooperative Observer (COOP) and Kansas Mesonet.
The statewide average precipitation was just 0.70 inches or 75 percent of normal. Unfortunately, the western divisions saw very little rain, with amounts averaging just 0.02 inches in the Northwest Division to 0.18 inches in the West Central Division. The Northeast Division had the largest average precipitation at 1.84 inches or 180 percent of normal. The North Central Division followed closely in second with an average of 1.51 inches or 170 percent of normal. The greatest total for the week at a National Weather Service Cooperative station was 3.69 inches at Clay Center, Clay County. For the Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow network, the greatest weekly total was 4.90 inches at Hunter 2.1 NNW, Mitchell County. Among the Kansas Mesonet stations the greatest weekly amount reported was 3.26 inches at the Clay County site, north of Clay Center.
Figure 3. Weekly precipitation summary for Kansas during the week of May 2 – 8, 2018 via Cooperative Observer (COOP), Community Collaborative Rain Hail Snow (CoCoRaHS) and Kansas Mesonet.
Figure 4. Departures from normal of weekly precipitation for Kansas during the week of May 2 – 8, 2018 via Cooperative Observer (COOP), Community Collaborative Rain Hail Snow (CoCoRaHS) and Kansas Mesonet.
Despite the moisture, drought persists across most of Kansas. (Figure 5). The change in drought categories (Figure 6) shows how little the moisture received changed the overall deficit. There was a slight improvement on the western edge of northeast Kansas where precipitation was heaviest.
Figure 5. U.S. Drought Monitor for Kansas (US Drought Monitor).
Figure 6. Difference in drought categories (US Drought Monitor).
Short-term Weather Outlook for Kansas
The quantitative precipitation forecast for the 7-day period, ending on May 17, favors moisture across the state. The areas with highest expected amounts are in the eastern third of the state (Figure 7). The areas with heaviest amounts may see up to two inches of rain. However, amounts drop sharply across the rest of the state, with less than a quarter of an inch expected in extreme southwest Kansas. The 8 to 14-day precipitation outlook (Figure 8) indicates a slightly increased chance of above-normal precipitation across the state. The temperature outlook is for warmer-than-normal conditions across the state, which will result in increased evapotranspiration rates.
Figure 7. Quantitative Precipitation Forecast the 7-day period ending on May 17, 2018 (NOAA)
Figure 8. 8-10 day Precipitation Outlook for period ending on May 23, 2018 (CPC)
Additional information can be found in the latest Agronomy eUpdate at https://webapp.agron.ksu.edu/agr_social/eu.throck and on the Kansas Climate website under weekly maps or drought reports http://climate.k-state.edu/maps/weekly and http://climate.k-state.edu/reports/weekly/2018/.
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
Chip Redmond, Kansas Mesonet