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K-State Agronomy eUpdates

Department of Agronomy

Kansas State University

2004 Throckmorton PSC

Manhatan, KS 66506

785-532-6101

agronomy@ksu.edu

Extension Agronomy

December 2015 weather in Kansas: Wet and warm

The overall pattern for December 2015 in Kansas was much wetter- and warmer-than-normal conditions. Statewide average precipitation was 2.28 inches. This ranks as the 6th wettest December since 1895. The Northwest Division was the exception to this wet pattern. The Northwest Divisional average was 0.50 inches, or 80 percent of the normal. In contrast, the West Central Division averaged 2.61 inches of precipitation, which was 289 percent of normal.

There were 210 new daily record precipitation amounts. In addition, 37 of those were new daily records for December. The bulk of these records occurred during the December 13-14th event, while a second wave came during a December 27th event. Not surprisingly, there were multiple reports of flooding and flash flooding with both events. The December 27th event was complicated by colder temperatures and freezing rain. The greatest daily precipitation totals were 3.43 inches at Pittsburg, Crawford County on the 27th (NWS) and 4.25 inches at Abilene, Dickinson County, on the 14th (CoCoRaHS). The greatest totals for the month were 9.07 inches at Bartlett, Labette County (NWS) and 8.00 inches at Pittsburg, Crawford County (CoCoRaHS).

 

Despite the warmer-than-normal temperatures, snow was a feature during the month. The greatest 24 hour total was 9 inches at Jetmore, Hodgeman County, on the 14th. That was also the greatest monthly total for the state.

 

Along with being the 6th wettest December on record, this was the 4th warmest December on record as well. The statewide average temperature was 37.7 degrees F, or 5.6 degrees warmer than normal. The western divisions were the closest to normal, with departures ranging from +3.6 degrees F in the West Central Division to +3.8 degrees F in the Southwest Division. The East Central Division had the greatest departure from normal, with an average of 38.6 degrees F, or 7.4 degrees warmer than normal. There were 79 new daily high maximum temperature records set, although none of these were record highs for the month. In addition, 95 record warm minimum temperatures were recorded. One, 62 degrees F recorded at Independence on the 13th, was a new record warm minimum for December. The warmest reading for the month was 75 degrees F at Wilmore (Comanche County) on the 10th. The coldest reading was 3 degrees F, recorded at both Tribune (Greeley County) and St. Francis (Cheyenne County) on the 18th.

Severe weather was mainly in the form of heavy rain and flooding. As noted earlier, there was an icing event on the 27th and 28th of December. This was the second major ice event of the winter.

 

 

Drought conditions continue to improve.  Moderate drought conditions were eliminated, and the area of abnormal dry conditions greatly reduced. Pockets of abnormally dry conditions remain in parts of central Kansas, as well as parts northwest Kansas. Some long-term hydrological deficits are in place affecting some water supplies and reservoirs. The drought outlook is for improving conditions, and the precipitation outlook for January is neutral. However, we are in a drier period of the year, so either above- or below-normal precipitation will be slow to show impacts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 2015

Kansas Climate Division Summary

 

Precipitation (inches)

Temperature (oF)

 

Dec 2015

2015 Jan. through Dec.

 

 

Monthly Extremes

Division

Total

Dep. 1

% Normal

Total

Dep. 1

% Normal

Ave

Dep. 1

Max

Min

Northwest

0.50

-0.07

80

20.83

-0.53

97

32.8

3.7

73

3

West Central

2.61

1.73

289

27.50

-0.51

96

34.2

3.6

72

3

Southwest

2.93

1.71

248

38.52

3.52

109

36.5

3.8

74

8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Central

0.78

0.15

109

21.67

0.90

103

35.6

6.3

72

10

Central

2.66

1.73

284

28.51

-0.78

96

37.3

5.9

73

9

South Central

2.84

1.44

197

37.53

-0.39

97

39.4

6.1

75

9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northeast

1.19

0.52

171

28.23

8.33

141

36.3

6.5

67

10

East Central

2.47

1.35

220

34.92

3.60

111

38.9

7.4

70

15

Southeast

3.83

2.01

203

41.16

-0.33

98

41.2

7.1

72

12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATE

2.22

1.19

200

31.16

1.78

106

36.9

5.6

75

.

 

                 

 

1. Departure from 1981-2010 normal value

2. State Highest temperature: 75 degrees F at Wilmore (Comanche County) on the 10th.

3. State Lowest temperature: 3 degrees F at Tribune1W (Greeley County) and St. Francis (Cheyenne County) on the 18th.

4. Greatest 24hr rainfall: 3.43 inches at Pittsburg, Crawford County on the 27th (NWS); 4.25 inches at Abilene 12.7 S, Dickinson County, on the 14th (CoCoRaHS).

Source: KSU Weather Data Library

 

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library

mknapp@ksu.edu