Update on the drought conditions in Kansas

Share Tweet Email

The last week of January in Kansas was mild and dry. Statewide temperatures averaged 35.5 degrees F or 1.7 degrees warmer-than-normal for the period (Jan. 24-30). Temperatures for all divisions averaged above normal. There was a wide swing between the warmest and coldest readings, although not as great as the previous week. The Northwest Division had the least departure from normal with an average of 31.0 degrees F, or 2.2 degrees warmer-than-normal. The East Central Division had the greatest departure from normal with an average of 37.0 degrees F, and a departure of 7.5 degrees warmer-than-normal. The Southeast Division had the warmest average at 39.0 degrees F and a departure of 6.6 degrees. The Southwest Division had the widest swing in temperatures with a range of 61 degrees. The warmest reading in the division was 73 degrees F reported at Hugoton, Stevens County, on the January 30. The coldest reading in the division was 9 degrees F, also at Hugoton, on the 29th.


The only moisture reported during the week was in the Southeastern Division as last week’s system exited the state. The state-wide average was 0.01 inches, or two percent of normal. That is 0.18 inches below normal for the period. The Southeast Division averaged 0.06 inches or 20 percent of normal. This division, despite having the greatest average rainfall, also had the greatest departure at 0.25 inches below normal.

The greatest weekly total for the National Weather Service Cooperative Stations was 0.26 inches at Arkansas City in Cowley County. The highest weekly total at a Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow network station was 0.24 inches at Pittsburg 0.7 WSW in Crawford County. Only trace amounts of snow were reported for the week.


Drought conditions

With the mild temperatures and lack of precipitation, drought conditions continue to worsen. No portion of the state remains drought-free (Figure 1).  The amount of the state in extreme drought expanded slightly to 4.3 percent.  Severe drought coverage jumped almost 10 percent to just under 25 percent of the state. Moderate drought expanded to cover 36 percent.

The quantitative precipitation forecast for the next 7-day period, ending on February 8th, calls for less than a quarter of an inch accumulation across most of the state (Figure 3). The 8 to 14-day precipitation outlook is also dry, with an increased chance of below-normal conditions statewide (Figure 2). The temperature outlook is for an increased chance of colder-than-normal conditions for the entire state.

Figure 1. Current drought conditions for Kansas. Source - Drought monitor, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

The Climate Prediction Center’s 8-14 day outlook shows increased chance of below normal precipitation for the period. Temperatures are expected to be colder-than-normal statewide.  Even with less evaporative demand given the cooler temperatures, without significant precipitation, no improvement in the drought conditions can be expected.

Figure 2. 8-14 day Precipitation Outlook for period ending February 14, 2018. Source: Climate Prediction Center, http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/.

Figure 3. Quantitative Precipitation Forecast for the week ending on February 8, 2018. Source: Climate Prediction Center, http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/.


Additional information can be found on the Kansas Climate website under weekly maps at http://climate.k-state.edu/maps/weekly.



Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library

Christopher ‘Chip’ Redmond, Kansas Mesonet

Xiaomao Lin, State Climatologist