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Department of Agronomy

Kansas State University

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Manhatan, KS 66506

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Extension Agronomy

Kansas weather summary for February: A month of extremes

While the overall conditions for February were both warmer and drier than normal, there was as significant change in patterns over the month. It entered on a cold, wet note with locations in western Kansas having over a foot of snow. As the system moved east, the snow switched to rain.  There were 67 daily precipitation records set on the 1st and 2nd of February. Colby 1SW and Sharon Springs set new records for daily totals in February. Colby reported 2.02 inches of liquid equivalent, while Sharon Springs reported 1.05 inches. Both records were set on the 2nd. Unfortunately, that was the only major precipitation event of the month. After the 3rd, there were only two dates on which the state average precipitation was measurable at 0.01 inches -- the 16th and the 23rd.  The statewide average for February was 0.54 inches. This ranks as the 34th driest February since 1895. The Northwest and West Central Divisions were exceptions to this dry pattern. The Northwest divisional average was 1.02 inches, or 182 percent of the normal. The West Central divisional average was 0.75 of an inch, or 116 percent of normal. In contrast, the Southeast and East Central Divisions averaged just 0.47 of an inch of precipitation, which was 22 and 37 percent of normal, respectively. Still, there were 67 new daily record precipitation amounts.   

 

 

Despite the warmer-than-normal temperatures, snow was a feature during the month. The greatest 24-hour total was 14 inches at Sharon Springs, in Wallace County, on the 2nd. Oberlin 1E was the station with the greatest monthly total for the state at 17 inches.

 

Temperatures were warmer-than-average across the state, with departures running from 3 to 8 degrees warmer than normal. Statewide, the average temperature was 39.8 degrees F or 5.7 degrees F warmer than normal. It ranks as the 12th warmest February on record. The warmest February occurred in 1960, with an average of 45.1 degrees F. There were 120 new daily high temperature records set in February. Seventeen of those also set records as the warmest daily temperatures reported in February for those stations. The highest recorded temperature was 91 degrees F. That was reported at 3 locations -- Ashland (Clark County), Hays 1S (Ellis County), Ness City (Ness County) -- all on the 18th. In addition to the record highs, there were 64 new record warm minimum temperatures. Wilson Lake set a new record warm minimum for February. There were no new records set for either low maximum or low minimum temperatures. The coldest reading for the month was 1 degrees F, reported at Brewster 1W on the 4th.

 

 

As might be expected with the warmer and drier conditions, there was an expansion of D0, or drier than normal conditions. This was mostly seen in the Southwest, where active vegetation growth coupled with warm temperatures, high winds, and low humidity are beginning to have impacts. Abnormally dry areas remain in central Kansas. While drier-than-normal conditions were experienced across much of eastern part of the state, this is a normally low precipitation month so changes in drought designations are slow to develop. The precipitation outlook for March is for increased chances of wetter than normal. However, the short-term outlooks are for drier-than-average conditions for the first half of the month. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 2016

Kansas Climate Division Summary

 

Precipitation (inches)

Temperature (oF)

 

Feb 2016

2016 Jan. through Feb.

 

 

Monthly Extremes

Division

Total

Dep. 1

% Normal

Total

Dep. 1

% Normal

Ave

Dep. 1

Max

Min

Northwest

1.02

0.46

182

1.08

0.07

107

36.8

5.0

87

1

West Central

0.75

0.13

116

0.88

-0.25

73

38.7

5.5

91

3

Southwest

0.24

-0.33

41

0.31

-0.73

29

42.0

6.2

91

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Central

0.59

-0.27

69

1.36

-0.13

91

38.1

5.8

87

5

Central

0.60

-0.45

57

1.37

-0.38

78

40.4

6.1

91

7

South Central

0.39

-0.83

31

0.70

-1.35

34

42.4

5.7

89

14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northeast

0.53

-0.64

49

1.27

-0.71

66

38.3

6.1

78

14

East Central

0.47

-0.93

33

1.16

-1.18

49

39.6

5.7

78

13

Southeast

0.47

-1.33

26

1.06

-1.99

34

41.8

5.1

81

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATE

0.54

-0.50

63

0.98

-0.79

59

39.8

5.7

91

1

 

                 

 

1. Departure from 1981-2010 normal value

2. State Highest temperature: 91 oF at Ashland (Clark County), Hays 1S (Ellis County), Ness City (Ness County) on the 18th.

3. State Lowest temperature: 1 oF at Brewster 4W (Thomas County) on the 4th.

4. Greatest 24hr rainfall: 2.80 inches at Oberlin, Decatur County,  on the 3rd (NWS); 2.12 inches at Natoma 6.7 NNE, Osborne County, on the 2nd (CoCoRaHS).

Source: KSU Weather Data Library

 

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library
mknapp@ksu.edu