Soil temperatures getting colder after December 13

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Surface soil temperatures can serve as a proxy for the temperature at which the crown of winter wheat is located. The mild conditions in November and the beginning of December kept soil temperatures above freezing across the state. Although air temperatures in the teens were experienced in the western parts of Kansas during this period, there was snow cover to insulate the ground in most cases. The map below shows the average 2-inch soil temperature for the week ending December 13:

Colder conditions have developed since Dec. 13 and snow cover has been mostly eliminated. Low temperatures on the morning of Dec. 18, as reported by the Kansas Mesonet, showed readings in the low teens to single digits in the west and in the upper teens in the east:

The result has been a sharp drop in soil temperatures in areas where the snow is no longer present, as depicted in the map below:


You can follow the low temperatures and the number of hours below freezing on the Kansas Mesonet site at

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library

Christopher Redmond, Weather Data Library