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Department of Agronomy

Kansas State University

1712 Claflin Rd.

2004 Throckmorton PSC

Manhatan, KS 66506

785-532-6101

agronomy@ksu.edu

Extension Agronomy

Kansas weather summary for January: A roller coaster ride

January weather was framed by extremes in Kansas. The month began with much colder-than-normal temperatures and snow. The last half of the month was marked by much warmer- and drier-than-normal conditions. The last two days introduced a return to winter with cold, wet conditions. Statewide temperatures averaged 31.2 degrees F, which was 1.4 degrees warmer than normal. This places it on the warm side of the middle range for January temperatures, as the 40th warmest since 1895. The Southeast Division came closest to average at 32.2 degrees F, or 0.4 degrees warmer than normal. The West Central Division saw the greatest departure. The average temperature for January in that region was 31.8 degrees F, or 2.1 degrees warmer than normal. The warmer-than-average temperatures didn’t mean that the month was without cold weather. All divisions reached lows that fell below zero. The coldest reading occurred at the beginning of the month, as an Arctic front issued in the New Year. The coldest reading was a -16 degrees at Brewster, in Thomas County, on the 1st.  Sub-zero readings were recorded even in the Southeastern Division, where temperatures dropped to -3 degrees F. The warmest reading for the month was 87 degrees F reported at Great Bend in Barton County, on the 28th. This tied an all-time warmest daily temperature for February in the state. The previous record was set at Hugoton on January 9, 1905. There was only one new record low minimum temperature set. That was the -16 degrees F at Brewster on the 1st. 

 

 

Statewide average precipitation was 0.77 inches which was 99 percent of normal. Fortunately, that deficit equals only 0.02 inches. The Northwest, West Central, South Central, and Southeastern Divisions averaged below-normal for the month. The Northwest had the lowest percentage of normal at 36 percent, which translates to a deficit of 0.29 inches for the month. The Southeast Division had the largest deficit at -0.39 inches, which was 72 percent of normal. The areas with greatest departure from normal only had slight increases.  The Central Division had 0.30 inches more than normal, while the North Central Division had 0.26 inches greater than normal. The remaining divisions had less than a quarter of an inch more than normal. The wettest day of the month was on the 31st, when the average reported precipitation was 0.20 inches. The highest monthly total for the National Weather Service was 1.17 inches at the Concordia Airport. The greatest monthly total for the CoCoRaHS network was 1.37 inches at Dodge City.

 

As typical, January was quiet on the severe weather side. There was one snow event, but amounts were generally not troublesome. The highest daily total reported was 5 inches at Elkhart, Morton County on the 5th (NWS) and 7.0 inches at Dodge City 2.7 (CoCoRaHS). Unfortunately, the moisture from the snow was limited.

 

 

Drought conditions persist across the state, particularly in the west. There was some degradation in the eastern portions of the state. The drought-free portion of the state shrunk to nearly zero. The wet start to February will bring a brief halt to further deterioration. However, a continued dry pattern is likely to result in a rapid expansion of more severe drought conditions. February marks the beginning of our wetter season, and deficits can accumulate rapidly, particularly in the eastern third of the state. The likelihood of an El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) continues to diminish. It is still expected to switch to an El Niño event before the end of winter, but it also remains to be seen what impact will be felt. Other global circulation patterns, including the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), can have significant impacts on the winter season. The February temperature outlook calls for neutral conditions for most of the state, with warmer-than-normal temperatures for the extreme northwestern areas. The precipitation outlook is also neutral, with precipitation equally likely to be above normal, normal or below normal. This does not indicate how that moisture might be distributed, and means snow events or extended dry periods are both possible.

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1

January 2015

Kansas Climate Division Summary

 

Precipitation (inches)

Temperature (oF)

 

 As of 1/31/2015

2015 through January

 

 

Monthly Extremes

Division

Total

Dep. 1

% Normal

Total

Dep. 1

% Normal

Ave

Dep. 1

Max

Min

Northwest

0.16

-0.29

36

0.16

-0.29

36

30.0

1.5

83

-16

West Central

0.34

-0.16

63

0.34

-0.16

63

31.8

2.1

83

-8

Southwest

0.53

0.06

115

0.53

0.06

115

33.8

1.7

82

-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Central

0.89

0.26

138

0.89

0.26

138

29.6

1.7

83

-6

Central

0.99

0.30

144

0.99

0.30

144

31.3

1.4

87

-6

South Central

0.74

-0.09

88

0.74

-0.09

88

33.2

1.1

83

-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northeast

1.03

0.22

132

1.03

0.22

132

28.9

1.4

75

-6

East Central

0.97

0.03

107

0.97

0.03

107

30.3

1.2

79

-8

Southeast

0.86

-0.39

72

0.86

-0.39

72

32.2

0.4

79

-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATE

0.72

-0.02

99

0.72

-0.02

99

31.2

1.4

87

-16

 

                 

 

1. Departure from 1981-2010 normal value

 

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
mknapp@ksu.edu