The Southwest Division again missed out on most of the precipitation during March. State-wide the average precipitation was 0.97 inches or 41 percent of normal. No division reached normal for precipitation for March. The Southwest Division, with an average of just 0.33 inches, had the lowest percent of normal at only 22 percent. The East Central Division had the closest to normal precipitation with an average of 1.50 inches or 55 percent of normal. The greatest monthly precipitation totals were 3.78 inches at Stillwell 1N, Johnson County (NWS) and 4.10 inches at Plevna 3.1 NNW, Reno County (CoCoRaHS. There was some snow during the month, with two locations matching or setting daily records for snowfall. The greatest daily snowfall report was 4.5 inches at Tribune 1W, Greeley County, on the 6th. The greatest snowfall totals for the month were 3.0 inches at both Ransom 2NE, Ness County and Wakeeney, Trego County (NWS); and 2.7 inches at St. Francis 12.1 NW, Cheyenne County (CoCoRaHS)
March continued the pattern of wide temperatures swings, as might be expected with the dry air in place. The statewide average temperature was 44.7 degrees F, or 1.2 degrees warmer-than-normal. The cold days weren’t persistent enough to outweigh the warmer start to the month. Only the Northeast Divisions averaged below-normal for the month. The average temperature for the Northeast was 42.1 degrees F, or 0.4 degrees cooler-than-normal. The Southwest Division had the greatest departure, with an average of 47.6 degrees F or 3.3 degrees warmer-than-normal. The warmest temperature reported for the month was 93 degrees F at Ashland, Clark County, on the 24th. The coldest reading was 7 degrees F at Alton 2SW, Osborne County, on the 8th. Records were set on both the cold and warm end of the spectrum, with most of those records on the warm side of the spectrum. On the cold side, there was one new record low maximum temperature and no new record low minimum temperatures. On the warm side, there were 27 new record high maximum temperatures and 10 new record high minimums.
Reports of severe weather during March were limited. There were 17 hail reports and 3 damaging wind reports. In addition, there were several winter weather advisories and several days with extreme fire danger.
The northwest and southeast corners of the state remain drought-free. The rest of Kansas saw deterioration. Exceptional drought conditions now cover just over 3 percent of the state, with extreme drought covering an additional 17 percent of the state. Severe drought has expanded to a quarter of the state while moderate drought covers an additional 36 percent of the state.
Weather outlook for April
The April outlook has a slight chance for wetter-than-normal conditions across the eastern portions of the state, with drier-than-normal conditions in the southwest corner of Kansas. The temperature outlook is for cooler-than-normal temperatures statewide. Unless April moisture is significant, even that combination is unlikely to result in significant improvement of the drought conditions. With the wet summer last year and current dryness, increased fire danger continues.
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library