Drought update for Kansas - October 19, 2018
It was another wet week ending on October 16. The statewide average precipitation for the period was 1.18 inches, 235 percent of normal. The Central Division was the wettest with an average of 1.62 inches or 344 percent of normal. The Northeast Division was the “driest”, with an average of 1.00 inch, 167 percent of normal. The largest weekly total for a NWS COOP station was 3.09 inches at Willowdale, Kingman County. The largest total for a Community Collaborative Rain Hail Snow Network station (CoCoRaHS) was 3.48 inches at Ottawa 5.6 SW, Ottawa County.
Figure 1. Weekly total precipitation for Kansas during the week of October 10 – 16, 2018 via Cooperative Observer (COOP), Community Collaborative Rain Hail Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), and Kansas Mesonet.
Figure 2. Departures of weekly precipitation from normal for Kansas during the week of October 10 – 16, 2018 via Cooperative Observer (COOP), Community Collaborative Rain Hail Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), and Kansas Mesonet.
Temperatures were much cooler than normal across the state for the week. All divisions saw freezing temperatures, with widespread hard freeze conditions in all but the Southeast Division. The statewide average temperature was 44.1 degrees F, which is 12.7 degrees cooler-than-normal. The Southeast Division came closest to normal, with an average temperature of 48.9 degrees F, 9.8 degrees cooler-than-normal. The Northwest Division had the greatest departure from average, with 38.3 degrees F, 15.2 degrees cooler-than-average. The highest maximum temperature was 77 degrees F at multiple locations on the October 10. The lowest minimum temperature was 9 degrees F at Cheyenne Mesonet station south of St. Francis, Cheyenne County, on the October 15.
Figure 3. Weekly mean temperatures for Kansas during the week of October 10 – 16, 2018 via Cooperative Observer (COOP) and Kansas Mesonet.
Figure 4. Departures of weekly mean temperatures for Kansas during the week of October 10 – 16, 2018 via Cooperative Observer (COOP) and Kansas Mesonet.
With another wet week, drought conditions continue to improve (Figure 5). Drought-free conditions now cover most of the state. Currently, just over 90 percent of the state is drought-free. The change in drought categories map (Figure 6) shows where changes occurred since the middle of September.
Figure 5. Current drought conditions from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Figure 6. Change in drought categories (US Drought Monitor).
The high amounts of precipitation resulted in flooding, particularly in south central Kansas. Floodwaters from Cow Creek and the Arkansas River in Barton County are just beginning to recede. The moisture has resulted in saturated soils across the state, which have caused harvest delays, as well as planting delays for fall-seeded crops such as wheat and canola.
The change in soil moisture conditions is dramatic. Figure 7 shows the 2-inch and 8-inch soil moisture measurements on October 4. Figure 8 shows the soil moisture at the 2- and 8-inch depths as of October 18.
Figure 7. Volumetric water as of October 4, 2018 (Kansas Mesonet)
Figure 8. Volumetric water content as of October 18, 2018 (Kansas Mesonet)
The quantitative precipitation forecast for the 7-day period, ending on October 26, shows the heaviest rainfall targeting the southern portions of the state (Figure 9). However, the highest precipitation amounts are expected to be under half an inch, which will allow for some drying of the surface. The 8 to 14-day precipitation outlook (Figure 10) is neutral with equal chances of above- or below-normal precipitation across Kansas. The temperature outlook favors a pattern of cooler-than-normal temperatures for the period.
Figure 9. Quantitative Precipitation Forecast the 7-day period ending October 26, 2018 (NCEP)
Figure 10. 8-14 day Precipitation Outlook for period ending October 31, 2018 (CPC)
Additional information can be found in the latest Agronomy eUpdate at https://webapp.agron.ksu.edu/agr_social/eu.throck
Or on the Kansas Climate website under weekly maps or drought reports at
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
Christopher Redmond, Kansas Mesonet