‘Neutral spring’ weather forecast for planting

Above normal summer moisture possible

Six more weeks of winter were forecast to come after the groundhog saw his shadow on Feb. 2, 2017.

“Will that be winter weather like we had in December, or winter weather like in January?” asked Mary Knapp, assistant state climatologist from Kansas State University.

“I’m not certain, but my accuracy will probably be about as accurate as Phil Sowerby in Pennsylvania,” Knapp said in opening her weather update at a Farm Profit Conference in Hillsboro.

Current drought monitor indicates the state is abnormally dry in southeast Kansas, with moderate drought in southwest Kansas. Eastern Oklahoma is in severe to extreme drought.

Information is gathered from several sources including the National Weather Service, United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is an American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere

January precipitation was higher than normal in south central Kansas, but only slightly above normal in the eastern one-third of the state.

There was only a small amount of moisture in the southern one-third of the state, with northeast Kansas receiving about two inches of precipitation. Snow produced between four and eight inches of precipitation in the western one fourth of Kansas.

January temperatures for the south one-third of the state averaged 35 to 40 degrees, while the northwest two-thirds of Kansas were 28 to 34 degrees.

Statewide average January temperatures brought four-inch soil temperatures up to average about 36 degrees, with warmest temperatures in the southeast corner of the state at 43 degrees.

While weekly precipitation forecast indicated moistures in most of the country, Kansas was largely exempt during the first part of February.

Limited precipitation was forecast for Valentine’s Day week throughout the country, with no more than a quarter of an inch in Kansas.

Warmer days have increased vegetative growth as compared to the 28-year average.

The two week temperature outlook indicates probability of above normal temperatures with little to no perception for the first half of February.

“Warmer temperatures are seen for the third week of February, with normal precipitation,” Knapp said.

“Three-month spring precipitation outlook is for normal precipitation for most parts of the country including Kansas,” Knapp said.

Some southern states will have below normal perception, and the northern tier of border states are expected to have above normal precipitation,

Temperatures are to be above normal in the southwest two-thirds of Kansas, and about normal for northeast Kansas.

Nationwide the north half of the country will have near normal temperatures, with hotter conditions is the entire bottom of the nation plumb through the New England states.

“Seasonal drought outlook will continue in western Kansas, and eastern Oklahoma, but most of Kansas will not experience drought,” Knapp said.

“Neutral weathers conditions with sufficient moisture for planting will continue for the spring, and a wetter summer is possible,” Knapp summarized.

No severe weather is predicted, although tall grass growth last year could create hazards meriting extreme caution when burning pastures.

Updated weather information is available from Knapp by calling 785-532-7019, or emailbmknapp@ksu.edu.

As the state climatologist, Mary Knapp occupies a unique position in the Department of Agronomy. She is responsible for establishing and maintaining a statewide network of equipment for gathering of weather data, and answering questions on climate and weather matters.


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, Kan., lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and radio marketing consultant.


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