April weather summary for Kansas - Cold and dry

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Record-setting cool temperatures

April set a new record as the coldest since 1895.  The state-wide average temperature for the month was 46.7 degrees F.  This was 6.5 degrees cooler-than-normal.  The Northeast Division had the greatest departure with an average of 44.5 degrees F which was 9 degrees cooler-than-normal for Kansas. The West Central Division came closest to normal with an average of 46.0 degrees F (4.7 degrees cooler-than-normal).  There were 189 new record daily cold maximum temperatures, of which 18 set new record low maximums for the month.  In addition, there were 291 new daily record low minimum temperatures, of which 3 set new records for the month.  The records weren’t all on the cold side, however.  There were 26 new record high maximum temperatures and 10 new record high minimum temperatures record during April.  The warmest temperature reported during the month was 99 degrees F at Ashland, Clark County, and Wilmore 16SE, Comanche County, on the 13th.  The coldest temperature reported during April was 4 degrees F.  This was reported at multiple locations and dates with the latest at Atwood, Rawlins County, on the 8th.

While precipitation began to fall towards the end of the month, April continued the pattern of below-normal precipitation.  The state-wide average precipitation was 1.19 inches which was just 45 percent of normal.  April is one of the months with higher normal precipitation, so the deficit of -1.48 inches has had a negative impact on vegetation.  The division that came closest to normal precipitation was the Southcentral Division with an average of 1.57 inches or 58 percent of normal.   The Northeast Division had the greatest departure, with an average of 1.01 inches or just 31 percent of normal.  The greatest monthly total for a National Weather Service Cooperative station was Augusta, Butler County with 3.29 inches. The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network station with the greatest monthly precipitation was Winfield 5.9SW, Cowley County, with 3.06 inches.  Among the Kansas Mesonet stations, the Butler County station near El Dorado had the greatest total at 2.38 inches.

Given the dry conditions, severe weather reports during the month were limited. There were 11 hail reports and 4 damaging wind reports.  The lack of tornadoes in April made for the latest start to the tornado season since 2000.

As of the Drought Monitor published on May 1*, the northwest and southeast corners of the state remain drought-free. The rest of the state saw deterioration in drought conditions. Exceptional drought now cover just over 7 percent of the state, while extreme drought covers an additional 20 percent of the state. Severe drought has expanded to a quarter of the state while moderate drought covers an additional 32 percent of the state.

*An updated discussion on the drought conditions in Kansas can be viewed in this issue of the eUpdate: “Update on drought conditions in Kansas – M ay 11, 2018”.

The May outlook has a slight chance for wetter-than-normal conditions across the state.  The temperature outlook is for cooler-than-normal temperatures statewide.  Unless May moisture is significant, that combination is unlikely to result in significant improvement of the drought conditions. With the wet summer last year, current dryness, and the cool start to the year, increased fire danger continues in southwest Kansas.





Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library