Update on drought conditions in Kansas - February 28, 2020


For the week ending on February 25, 2020, wetter-than-normal conditions dominated all but northwestern Kansas. Over that seven-day period, Kansas received 350% of normal moisture (Figure 1). Greatest measured daily precipitation in the state occurred in Chautauqua County with 2.72 inches recorded (Sedan, Feb. 24). This moisture includes the liquid equivalent of snowfall that stretched across the state (Figure 2). The largest departures from normal were seen across the central parts of the state. This snow/mixed precipitation significantly impacted the drought conditions in the Central and South Central region, with lesser impacts in the Southwest part of the state (Figure 3). Severe and moderate drought persists across the southwest with abnormally dry in portions of northwest Kansas (Figure 4). The moisture seen during the middle of this week will be included in next week’s update.
 

Figure 1. Percent of normal precipitation for the week of February 19 - 25, 2020. Normal precipitation is noted as 100%. Map by the Kansas Weather Data Library.
 

Figure 2. Summary of precipitation recorded during the week of February 19 - 25, 2020. Map by the Kansas Weather Data Library.
 

Figure 3. One week change in drought status for Kansas. Green colors indicate an improvement and gray indicates no change. (U.S. Drought Monitor)


Figure 4. Drought status for Kansas as of February 25, 2020.  (U.S. Drought Monitor)

 

Temperatures across the state averaged 1.6 oF cooler than normal for the same seven-day period (Figure 5). In late February, temperatures typically average warmest in southern Kansas (Figure 6) and that was the case this week. The largest anomaly was in the Northwest Division, which has recorded both the coldest minimum temperatures and the warmest maximum temperatures. The week’s highest temperature, 68 oF, was recorded at Atwood, Rawlins County and Colby 1S, Thomas County, on February 23. However, despite these warm temperatures, the coldest reading still dropped below zero in Kansas with -2 oF recorded at Brewster 4W, Sherman County, on the 21st.  Normal temperatures will continue to increase as we approach the latter days of winter.


Figure 5. Mean air temperatures recorded during the week of February 19 - 25, 2020. Map by the Kansas Weather Data Library.
 

Figure 6. Departure of normal mean air temperatures for the week of February 19 - 25, 2020. Positive values (dark orange and red colors) indicate warmer than normal temperatures. Map by the Kansas Weather Data Library.


Looking ahead

In the upcoming week, precipitation chances are minimal. Most of the state is expected to see less than one hundredth of an inch with only southeast Kansas likely to see significant moisture (Figure 7).
 

Figure 7. Quantitative Precipitation Forecast for the week ending March 5, 2020 (Weather Prediction Center).

 

Summary

  • Heavy rain fell on February 23-24 from I-70 southward, with over 2 inches reported in many places.
  • Major reduction in drought conditions in central and west-central Kansas.
  • Below-normal temperatures for most of the state, coldest in the northwest.

 

 

Mary Knapp, Assistant State Climatologist
mknapp@ksu.edu

Christopher “Chip” Redmond, Kansas Mesonet Manager
christopherredmond@ksu.edu