Warm weather recently has allowed for increased accumulation of growing degree units in summer crops. However, because of delayed spring planting and cool temperatures in July and August, there are concerns about weather conditions this autumn -- and what adverse fall weather could mean for crops in Kansas. Cool fall temperatures will delay crop maturity, while the recent dry weather increases concern of available water for planting winter crops such as winter wheat and canola.
The outlook for September calls for cooler- and wetter-than-normal conditions for Kansas, despite the warm start to the month. This pattern is expected to continue in the September-November period.
The precipitation outlook shows Kansas at the north end of a wetter-than-average area centered to the southwest. A wet pattern in the Southern Plains and the desert Southwest makes it less likely that we will have drier-than-normal conditions in Kansas. The average precipitation for the September-November period ranges from 6-8 inches in southeastern Kansas to less than 2 inches in western Kansas. Note that this is the total for the 3-month period. The outlook doesn’t indicate how that might be distributed, although the September outlook is encouraging.
The temperature outlook calls for cooler-than-normal conditions to continue to dominate the country west of the Rockies. Temperatures are expected to be cooler-than-normal in west Texas and into the Oklahoma Panhandle. During the fall season, cooler-than-normal temperatures don’t necessarily mean an early freeze. With cooler-than-normal temperatures expected in September, even an average freeze date could result in problems. The average temperatures for the period range from over 58 degrees F in the South Central Division to around 50 degrees F in extreme northwest Kansas.
An El Niño has been declared. It continues to be strong, but it is uncertain how much impact will result from that pattern. An El Niño generally favors wetter-than-normal conditions in the Central Plains. The ridging pattern along the western Rockies is also expected to continue. This has resulted in a split pattern, with the Central Plains as the dividing line. Warmer-than-normal conditions are to the west, while cooler-than-normal conditions are in place to the east.
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library