July weather summary for Kansas - A cool start, a hot finish

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In an eUpdate article last month, we examined the counts of 90-degree days across Kansas this summer. At that time, every location had fewer such days than in 2022. Just two weeks ago, it appeared that July 2023 would be one of the cooler Julys on record. Through the first 21 days of July, the statewide average temperature was 76.1°F or 3.0 degrees below normal. Had that been the average temperature for the entire month, it would have ranked in the top 20 coldest Julys on record. Mother Nature turned up the heat starting on July 22 though, and Kansas’ average temperature for the last 10 days of July was 82.8°F. This late-month heat nearly erased the negative departure of the first three weeks of July; the preliminary average temperature for the entire month of July is 78.3°F, or just 0.5°F below normal. In this report, we take a closer look at the means and extremes of this recent heat wave.

Over three-quarters of the Kansas Mesonet sites reached 100°F at least once during the last 10 days of the month. Around one-quarter of the sites reached 100°F on at least half of those days, with Ness City and WaKeeney leading with eight days. On three of the ten days, the average high temperature across all stations in the Kansas Mesonet was over 100°F (Table 1), with the 25th (100.4°F) narrowly edging out the 26th (100.3°F) and 28th (100.2°F) for the warmest average. The highest reading on all three days was the Gypsum site in Saline County at 107.9°F  on the 26th.

Morning lows were also unseasonably warm. July 26 had the warmest average minimum temperature at 73.3°F. Five stations had lows in the 80s that morning, with Overbrook in Osage County the warmest at 81.5°F. At a few Mesonet sites, the extreme heat set all-time station records for both warmest high and low temperatures. Four Kansas Mesonet sites in service for 5 or more years recorded new all-time record highs (Table 2), two each on the 26th and 28th. On July 26, seven locations set new all-time record warm minimums (Table 3). Both the Gypsum and Overbrook extremes mentioned earlier were new records. For those locations not setting all-time station records, it had been a few years since temperatures were this hot. At ten Mesonet locations, the highest temperature reached during the last 10 days of July was the hottest reading in over 5 years, and for four of the ten, their highest was the hottest in over 10 years (Table 4).

 

Table 1. Warmest average high temperatures across the Kansas Mesonet during July 2023.

Date

Average high

temperature (°F)

Number of sites with highs 100°F

Highest temp. (°F)

Location/County

July 25

100.4

48

107.3

WaKeeney/Trego

July 26

100.3

39

107.9

Gypsum/Saline

July 28

100.2

38

107.6

Clay/Clay

 

Table 2. Kansas Mesonet sites setting all-time station records for high temperature during the last ten days of July 2023. Only stations in service for more than 5 years are listed.

Location

County

Highest temp. (°F) / date recorded

Length of

record (years)

Ashland Bottoms

Riley

106.9 / July 28

9.7

Gypsum

Saline

107.9 / July 26

8.4

Overbrook

Osage

104.7 / July 28

6.3

Elmdale 1SE

Chase

102.5 / July 26

5.1

 

Table 3. Kansas Mesonet sites that set all-time station records for the warmest minimum temperature on July 26, 2023. Only stations in service for more than 5 years are listed.

Location

County

July 26, 2023

low temperature (°F)

Length of

record (years)

Miami

Miami

80.5

14.4

Jewell

Jewell

79.3

12.5

Rock Springs

Dickinson

78.7

9.6

Olathe

Johnson

80.3

9.3

Gypsum

Saline

80.8

8.4

Oskaloosa 1SE

Jefferson

79.9

7.7

Overbrook

Osage

81.5

6.3

 

Table 4. Kansas Mesonet sites where the hottest reading during the last 10 days of July 2023 was the warmest temperature in over five years.

Location

County

Highest temp. (°F) / date recorded

Last time this temperature was exceeded

Scandia

Republic

105.5 / July 28

June 27, 2012

Clay

Clay

107.6 / July 28

July 25, 2012

Washington

Washington

104.9 / July 28

July 25, 2012

Osborne

Osborne

107.1 / July 28

July 13, 2013

Rock Springs

Dickinson

106.4 / July 26

July 28, 2015

Jewell

Jewell

107.2 / July 28

July 21, 2017

Mitchell

Mitchell

107.0 / July 28

July 21, 2017

Ottawa 2SE

Ottawa

102.3 / July 28

July 22, 2017

Rossville 2SE

Shawnee

99.8 / July 26

July 22, 2017

Manhattan

Riley

104.9 / July 28

June 28, 2018

 

There were even higher temperatures recorded at cooperative sites. Minneapolis, in Ottawa County, reached 111°F on July 28, Kansas’ highest reading so far this year. Wilson Lake in Russell County and Courtland in Republic County both hit 110°F. There were multiple sites that reached 109°, including at both the Concordia and Manhattan Airports. This was the hottest reading in Concordia in 17 years; it last reached 109°F on July 19, 2006. Had it been just one degree warmer, it would have been the first 110°F in Concordia since 1954. Minneapolis’ 111°F is a few degrees shy of their July record high of 117°F set on July 24, 1936, but it was their warmest July reading since 2011. Lawrence had the warmest minimum temperature in the state on July 26 at 84°, closely followed by Concordia at 83° and a few 82° readings, including at both Topeka and Olathe-Johnson County Executive Airports. Lawrence’s 84° was their warmest daily minimum since September 4, 1947, while Concordia’s 83° was the warmest since July 19, 1954. At both locations, the all-time warmest daily minimum is 86°, set in 1933 at Lawrence and 1936 in Concordia.

Stress Degree Days

The very high temperatures led to stress on Kansas’ corn crop. The amount of stress can be quantified by calculating corn stress degree days. When a daily maximum temperature exceeds 86°F, one corn stress degree day is earned for each degree the high is above 86°F (e.g., Mitchell’s high of 107° on July 28th resulted in 21 corn stress degree days). When 140 or more corn stress degree days are recorded in a growing season, there is a potential for yield loss. Nine Kansas Mesonet sites accumulated 140 or more corn stress degree days in the last 10 days of July (Table 5). When added to the corn stress degree days accumulated prior to July 22, growing season totals are running well above normal in all of these locations.

Evapotranspiration (ET) for the last 10 days of July was also higher than normal (Table 6). Areas in the southwest were closer to normal than in northern Kansas.

 

Table 5. The highest number of accumulated corn stress degree days during July 22-31, 2023 across the Kansas Mesonet, along with these stations’ totals for the growing season and departures from 30-year normal counts.

Location

County

Corn Stress Degree Days

July 22-31,

2023

Growing season
April 1-July 31, 2023

Growing season Departure from normal

Ness City

Ness

165

416

+115

Gypsum

Saline

164

427

+149

WaKeeney

Trego

162

305

+32

Hays

Ellis

158

337

+72

La Crosse

Rush

152

347

+93

Osborne

Osborne

149

318

+98

Gove 5SE

Gove

143

283

+143

McPherson 1S

McPherson

141

343

+64

Hodgeman

Hodgeman

140

406

+105

 

Table 6. Total evapotranspiration (ET) at select Kansas Mesonet sites for the period July 22-31, 2023, and 10-year normals for the same 10-day period, based on 2013-2022 data.

Location

County

July 22-31, 2023

ET (inches)

Normal July 22-31

ET (inches)

Manhattan

Riley

2.21

1.98

Miami

Miami

2.10

1.73

Parsons

Labette

2.24

1.93

Hutchinson 10 SW

Reno

2.65

2.21

Scandia

Republic

2.13

1.89

Hays

Ellis

2.83

2.35

Colby

Thomas

2.58

2.28

Tribune

Greeley

2.38

2.27

Garden City

Finney

2.37

2.29

Meade

Meade

2.26

2.21

 

Weather outlook for August 6-10

The heat of late July has lingered into early August, but a cooling trend looks to be on the way. The Climate Prediction Center’s 6 to 10-day outlook, valid for the period August 6-10 (Figure 1), calls for an increased likelihood of below-normal temperatures statewide. In addition, there are elevated chances for above-normal precipitation during the same period (Figure 2). This is good news for those areas of the state where precipitation has been lacking this growing season.

 

Figure 1. The Climate Prediction Center’s 6 to 10-day temperature outlook for the period August 6-10, 2023.

 

Figure 2. The Climate Prediction Center’s 6 to 10-day precipitation outlook for the period August 6-10, 2023.

 

 

Matthew Sittel, Assistant State Climatologist
msittel@ksu.edu


Tags:  weather Climate hot weather degree days 

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