January precipitation in Kansas ranked No. 7 in 123 years of records, but state still dry

Abnormally dry to severe drought conditions prevail in many counties

MANHATTAN, Kan. – A winter storm that brought ice and snow to parts of Kansas in mid-January pushed the statewide average precipitation to 1.60 inches, more than double the normal amount for the month, but did little to relieve extremely dry conditions in all but the state’s midsection.

020817-droughtke2The month ranked as the seventh-wettest January in the 123 years statewide records have been kept, said assistant state climatologist Mary Knapp, but the U.S. Drought Monitor, released Jan. 31, 2017, showed the bulk of Kansas counties in abnormally dry to severe drought conditions. That was not unexpected, because January tends to be the driest month of the year. So, even with above-normal precipitation, western Kansas and the state’s more eastern counties saw little relief. The central part of the state received closer-to-normal precipitation during the fall months, which has kept it in better conditions.

Higher than normal temperatures returned in January, with the statewide average at 39.9 degrees F – which is 2 degrees warmer than normal – said Knapp, who is based at the state’s Weather Data Library at Kansas State University. That made it the 35th-warmest since 1896. A total of 23 record-high maximum temperatures were set across the state while 68 record-high minimum temperatures were set during the month. The highest temperature reported was 78 degrees at Pratt, Kan., on Jan. 31, 2017.

The outlook for February is for a continuation of warmer than normal conditions, but is neutral on precipitation, according to the Climate Prediction Center of the National Weather Service. Precipitation is equally likely to above or below normal in February.

More Kansas weather data is available at www.ksre.k-state.edu/wdl/.

Story by Mary Lou Peter, [email protected], K-State Research and Extension.

Drought graphic and key thanks to the U.S. Drought Monitor.


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