Kansas weather outlook: Late summer and early fall 2019

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Wet conditions continue to dominate the state.  May 2019 was the wettest month on record, leaving saturated soils and full streams, ponds, and reservoirs. The outlook for July calls for a continuation of that pattern with an increased chance of wetter-than-normal conditions across Kansas. The temperature outlook favors a cooler-than-normal pattern across the entire Central Plains. A normal or slightly below normal precipitation pattern for July would be favorable in the eastern divisions, where saturated soils continue to be problematic. Cool temperatures would slow the normal drying pattern. While slightly cooler temperatures could reduce heat stress, it would also increase disease pressure. In addition, with low evaporation rates, flooding could also be an issue due to the fact that streams, ponds, and reservoirs are full.

Figure 1.  July 2019 outlooks for precipitation (upper maps) and temperature (lower maps) versus normal (Weather Data Library and CPC).


Summer temperature outlook

As the outlook is extended to the late summer season, the temperature outlook continues to favor cooler-than-normal temperatures across the state. However, this does not indicate how those temperatures might be distributed. An untimely period of warm temperatures at flowering/pollination could still create problems.  In addition, root development on spring-seeded crops is compromised by the cool, wet soils that have dominated the spring. This poor root development will make the crops more vulnerable to a relatively short dry period, particularly when accompanied by warm, windy weather.

Cooler temperatures in the middle of summer may sound good – but does not mean that it will be comfortable. The result of all the increased moisture the previous months will negate the cooler temperatures. With above normal precipitation, surface moisture is abundant across the region. As a result, there will be increased evaporation at the surface which will inject additional moisture into the atmosphere. This additional moisture increases humidity and thus, the heat index as well. It will not take as much “heat” to make conditions feel unbearably warm and heat indices will be quite high despite cooler-than-normal temperatures (normal high temperatures for July typically reach the low-to-mid 90s for much of the state).

Summer precipitation outlook

There is a moderate chance for above-normal precipitation state-wide for the period. Again, as with temperatures, this does not indicate the distribution pattern. A slightly drier-than-normal summer, with well distributed rains would be much more beneficial than a continuation of the rainy pattern.  Planting has already been delayed, as well as cutting of alfalfa and other hay crops.  The western third of the state has drier soil moistures at the surface and would benefit more from a normal precipitation pattern. With increased evaporation and atmospheric moisture, this would increase the likelihood of additional heavy thunderstorms and rapid rain rates across the region when rainfall does occur. Because of this, flooding risks will remain elevated for much of the summer even if dry periods develop between rain events.

While an El Niño has been officially declared, it remains weak.  An El Niño generally favors wetter-than-normal conditions in the Central Plains. 



Figure 2.  Summer outlooks for temperature (upper maps) and precipitations (lower maps) versus normal for the July, August, and September period (Weather Data Library and CPC).




Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library/Mesonet

Chip Redmond, Weather Data Library/Mesonet

Tags:  weather climate