Kansas drought update - March 27, 2018

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Current status

Moisture was limited this week.  State-wide, the precipitation averaged 0.13 inches or 19 percent of normal. Unfortunately, this was concentrated in the eastern third of the state, and even in those areas, divisional averages were below normal. The Northeast Division fared the best with an average of 0.42 inches, or 69 percent of normal. The Southwest Division had the lowest average at zero inches or zero percent of normal. The deficit for that division was -0.36 inches. The greatest weekly total for the National Weather Service Cooperative Stations was 2.03 inches at Horton in Brown County. The highest weekly total at a Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow network station was 2.46 inches at Pomona 4.6 NNE, Franklin County. For the Kansas Mesonet, the greatest total was 2.80 inches at the Miami County station in Paola. Only trace amounts of snow were reported during the week, although hail was part of the mix. That included reports of baseball size hail in north central Kansas on March 23rd and hail up to 1.5 inches in east central Kansas on the 25th.

Figure 1. Weekly total precipitation for Kansas during the week of March 21 -27 via Cooperative Observer (COOP) and Kansas Mesonet.

Figure 2. Departures of weekly precipitation from normal for Kansas during the week of March 21 -27 via Cooperative Observer (COOP) and Kansas Mesonet.

Temperatures were on the milder side, although lows did drop into the mid-twenties to mid-teens in all divisions. The statewide average temperature was 48.2 degrees F, or 2.4 degrees warmer-than-normal. The Northeast Division came closest to normal with an average of 44.6 degrees F, or 0.6 degrees cooler-than-normal. The Southwest Division had the largest departure, with an average of 52.0 degrees F or 5.7 degrees warmer-than-normal. Both the warmest and the coldest readings were recorded in the Southwest Division: highest maximum temperature was 93 degrees F at Ashland in Clark County on the 24th; lowest minimum temperature was 17 degrees F at Ulysses in Grant County on the 21st.

Figure 3. Weekly mean temperatures for Kansas during the week of March 21 -27 via Cooperative Observer (COOP) and Kansas Mesonet.

Figure 4. Departures of weekly mean temperatures for Kansas during the week of March 21 -27 via Cooperative Observer (COOP) and Kansas Mesonet.


Another drier-than-normal week resulted in expansion of the exceptional drought in Southwest Kansas (Figure 5). The minimal change in drought categories (Figure 6) shows how little the moisture received changed the overall short fall. Only very slight improvements can be seen where the heaviest rains fell.



Figure 5. Current drought conditions for Kansas from the Drought Monitor.


Figure 6. Difference in drought categories.


Precipitation and temperature outlooks

The quantitative precipitation forecast for the 7-day period ending on April 5th isn’t encouraging. The areas with highest expected amounts are along the Kansas/Missouri border, particularly in the southeast corner of the state (Figure 7). That region may see up to a quarter of an inch. However, that would only be 80 percent of the normal for the week, and amounts drop sharply as you head west. From central Kansas to the southwest, the accumulation is expected to be less than a trace. 

The 8 to 14-day precipitation outlook (Figure 8) indicates a slightly increased chance of above-normal precipitation across the state, but in those areas that is only a slight chance. The temperature outlook is neutral for all except the Southwest, where there is an increased chance of warmer-than-normal temperatures.

Figure 7. Quantitative Precipitation Forecast for week ending April 5, 2018.



Figure 8. 8-10 day Precipitation Outlook for period ending April 11, 2018 (CPC)


Additional information can be found in the latest Agronomy eUpdate at: https://webapp.agron.ksu.edu/agr_social/eu.throck

Or on the Kansas Climate website under weekly maps or drought reports: http://climate.k-state.edu/maps/weekly and http://climate.k-state.edu/reports/weekly/2018/



Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library

Chip Redmond, Kansas Mesonet