Spring weather summary for Kansas

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With the end of May, we move out of the meteorological spring into summer. It might be somewhat surprising to see that the spring period actual averaged warmer than normal in Kansas.The March-May period averaged 54.3 degrees F, placing it as the 39th warmest spring since 1895. May was cooler than average statewide, with an average of 61.6 degrees F, or 31st coldest May on record. Warmer-than-average temperatures in March and April resulted in a warmer-than-average bias for the overall period. This is also why the growing degree day departures are not as large as might be expected. The maps below show that the greatest departures occurred in the western part of the state, particularly in the Northwest, North Central and West Central Divisions. 

Precipitation for the spring period was greater than normal across most of the state. This March-May period ranks as the 16th wettest since 1895. Not all areas had excess moisture. The border between the Northwest and North Central Divisions was the center of the below-normal precipitation. May was wetter than average, but not enough to overcome the deficits from March and April. This is also the portion of the state that still registers as moderate drought on the U.S. Drought Monitor, according to the latest release.

The Climate Prediction Center’s outlook for the summer calls for increased chances of wetter- and cooler-than-normal conditions for the June-August period. The El Niño continues to strengthen and is expected to persist into the winter. This pattern frequently favors wetter-than-average conditions in the Plains. Chances of warmer-than-normal temperatures are reduced when wetter conditions persist in the summer. However, increased humidity could result in higher Heat Index values, with the apparent temperature feeling much warmer that the observed temperature. Heat stress could be a problem, particularly in confined animal operations.


Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library

Xiamao Lin, State Climatologist