Kansas drought update - April 12, 2018

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Current status

For a change, the greatest precipitation was reported in the areas with the most extreme drought conditions – southwest and south central Kansas.  Unfortunately, it was still much lower than normal.  The Southwest Division averaged 0.12 inches, or 35 percent of normal.  The South Central Division averaged 0.20 inches or 36 percent of normal.  Statewide average precipitation was just 0.09 inches or 19 percent of normal.  The highest precipitation total for a National Weather Service Coop station was 0.90 inches at Augusta in Butler County, in the South Central Division.  The highest total for a Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) station was 0.42 inches at Hugoton 0.6 NNW, Stevens County, in the Southwest Division.  For the Kansas Mesonet stations, the greatest total was 0.35 inches at Hodgeman.  Other stations with 0.3 of an inch or more included Richfield, Lake City and St. John.  Unfortunately, the ET (evapotranspiration) values for the western stations were also high, leaving effective moisture deficits of -0.60 to -0.90 inches for the week.

Figure 1. Weekly total precipitation for Kansas during the week of April 4 –10, 2018 via Cooperative Observer (COOP) and Kansas Mesonet.

Figure 2. Departures of weekly precipitation from normal for Kansas during the week of April 4 – 10, 2018 via Cooperative Observer (COOP) and Kansas Mesonet.


As the vigorous cold air that arrived over the weekend persisted through the beginning of the week, temperatures were cooler-than-normal in all divisions.  The statewide average temperature was 38.7 degrees F, or 11.7 degrees cooler-than-normal.  The Northeast Division had the greatest departure from normal with an average of 33.5 degrees F, or 16.9 degrees cooler-than-normal.  The Southwest Division came closest to normal, with an average of 43.7 degrees F or 7.4 degrees cooler-than-normal.  The highest maximum temperature was 78 degrees F at Russell 1E, Russell County, on April 10th.  The lowest minimum temperature was 4 degrees F at both Alton 6ESE, Osborne County, and Atwood 2SW, Rawlins County, on April 7th.

Figure 3. Weekly mean temperatures for Kansas during the week of April 4 – 10, 2018 via Cooperative Observer (COOP) and Kansas Mesonet.

Figure 4. Departures of weekly mean temperatures for Kansas during the week of April 4 – 10, 2018 via Cooperative Observer (COOP) and Kansas Mesonet.


Another drier-than-normal week resulted in expansion of the exceptional drought category in southwest Kansas (Figure 5).  The change in drought categories (Figure 6) shows how little the moisture received changed the overall deficit. The heaviest rainfall only slowed deterioration.

Figure 5. Current drought from the Drought Monitor. (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/)

Figure 6. Change in drought categories from April 3, 2018 to April 10, 2018 (U.S. Drought Monitor).

Precipitation and temperature outlooks

The Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPC) for the 5-day period, ending on April 17th, is dismal. The areas with highest expected amounts are along the borders of the state, with the exception of the south central border to Oklahoma (Figure 7).  The areas with heaviest amounts may see up to a half an inch.  However, that would still be less than normal for the week, and amounts drop sharply across the rest of Kansas, where only a tenth to a quarter of an inch is expected. 

The 8 to 14-day precipitation outlook (Figure 8) indicates a slightly increased chance of above-normal precipitation across the state.  The temperature outlook is neutral for all except the southwest, where there is an increased chance of warmer-than-normal temperatures.

Figure 7. Quantitative Precipitation Forecast the 5-day period ending April 17, 2018.

Figure 8. 8-10 day Precipitation Outlook for period ending April 26, 2018 (CPC)


Additional information can be found in the latest Agronomy eUpdate at: https://webapp.agron.ksu.edu/agr_social/eu.throck

Or on the Kansas Climate website under weekly maps or drought reports:

http://climate.k-state.edu/maps/weekly and http://climate.k-state.edu/reports/weekly/2018/



Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library

Chip Redmond, Kansas Mesonet Manager