Summer growing season screeches to a halt in Kansas

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The 2018 summer growing season came to a swift end as a vigorous cold front moved across the state Sunday into Tuesday.  The coldest temperatures were in northwest Kansas, where readings dropped to the single digits (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Lowest temperatures for October 15, 2018 (Kansas Mesonet).

While this was not a particularly early freeze date in parts of the west, at least half of these lows represented new record lows for those locations.  The 9 degree F reading at the Cheyenne Mesonet station was 13 degrees lower than the previous record set in 1942.

Given the cold temperatures, it is not surprising that the hours below 32 degrees F were lengthy.  As indicated in Figure 2, most stations in the Northwest and West Central Divisions had 24 hours below freezing.  The companion article in this special eUpdate issue, “Freezing temperatures: Potential impacts on crop yield” provides detailed information on the remaining row crops still in the field. Additional articles in the October 12, 2018 eUpdate provide information regarding the impacts the lows will have on crop production.

Figure 2. Hours below 32 degrees F across Kansas (Kansas Mesonet).


The cold weather continued Monday night into Tuesday.  Clear skies allowed for another significant drop in temperatures.  The cold penetrated further to the southeast, with only the Cherokee Mesonet station (southeast corner of Kansas) remaining above 32 degrees F (Figure 3)

Figure 3. Minimum temperatures on October 16, 2018 (Kansas Mesonet).

In addition to the widespread cold, this marked the first widespread snowfall across the state.  Snowfall totals ranged from a trace to over 4 inches (Figure 4). Earlier snowfall on October 5 was confined to a small area of northwest Kansas. The additional moisture will continue to delay fall field operations.

Figure 4. Snowfall totals as of October 15, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. from National Weather Service Coop and CoCoRaHS reports (Weather Data Library).

You can continue to monitor the cold temperatures at the Kansas Mesonet website Freeze Monitor page:



Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library/Mesonet

Chip Redmond, Weather Data Library/Mesonet

Tags:  freeze cold tolerance cold snow