Summer weather outlook for Kansas

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With cool weather dominating the last few weeks, interest has increased in what might be expected for the summer season. Summer for the Northern Hemisphere is defined in the meteorological community as the months of June, July and August. The Climate Prediction Center has recently released the long lead outlook for the summer. These outlooks are based on a suite of climate and weather models.

On the temperature side, Kansas is basically on the dividing line, with equal chances for above or below normal temperatures throughout the state and to the north, including eastern Colorado and western Missouri. The Southern Plains states of Texas and Oklahoma face an increased chance of warmer-than-normal temperatures, continuing the trend they have experienced this spring. Unfortunately, the outlooks do not indicate the degree of difference, nor does it indicate how the temperatures might be distributed across the three-month period. 

On the precipitation side, the entire Plains region from Texas to the southwestern North Dakota have an increased chance of wetter-than-normal conditions this summer. A wetter-than-normal summer in the Plains would also favor normal to cooler-than-normal temperatures. While warmer-than-normal temperatures are possible during a wet summer, the heat is usually due to higher dew points and the resulting warmer-than-normal minimum temperatures, rather than increased number of days above 100 oF. The greatest chance for these wetter-than-normal conditions are centered around Wyoming, southern Montana, northeastern Colorado, the Nebraska Panhandle, and northwest Kansas. While these wetter conditions, particularly if they are spread throughout the season, will favor grasslands, they could complicate harvest of winter wheat and hay. A continued wet pattern in June will also hinder planting of soybeans and sorghum.

At this point the ENSO cycle is neutral. There is a slight increase in the probability of the development of an El Niño by late summer/early fall. A fall onset of an El Niño favors wetter-than-normal conditions in Kansas. The maps below show the normal temperature and precipitation for both the summer (June-August) and the fall ((September-November) seasons.


Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library