Update on drought conditions in Kansas - June 23, 2020

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  • Significant moisture in central Kansas
  • Warm start and a warm ending gave a mix of departures from normal temperatures
  • Extreme drought expanded slightly in southwest Kansas; severe and moderate drought moved north and abnormally dry conditions expanded in the east
  • Forecast for the upcoming week is for above-normal temperatures and normal precipitation

For the week ending on June 23, 2020, precipitation occurred statewide with the heaviest over central Kansas (Figure 1). The highest average precipitation was in the South Central Division, which averaged 2.59 inches, 235% of normal (Figure 2).  The East Central Division received the least precipitation, averaging 0.45 inches and only 35% of their weekly normal.

Figure 1. Total precipitation (inches) recorded for the week of June 17 – June 23, 2020. Map by the Kansas Weather Data Library.

Figure 2. Percent of normal precipitation for the week of June 17 – June 23, 2020. Values less than 100 indicate below-normal amounts. Map by the Kansas Weather Data Library.

Temperatures also showed considerable variability with the warmest reading of 100 oF at various locations in western KS, on the 18th. The coldest reading was 48 oF (Brewster 1N, Sherman County, on the 17th). The state averaged 1.0 oF warmer than normal for the seven-day period (Figure 3). The warmest division was the Southeast, which averaged 2.0 oF warmer than normal. The Northwest Division was the coolest, with an average departure of 0.4 degrees cooler than normal. (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Departure from normal weekly mean temperatures. Map by the Weather Data Library.

Current drought status for Kansas

The abundant precipitation in the central parts of the state resulted in improvement in areas that saw more than 2 inches during the week. Areas with less rainfall remained the same or deteriorated.  Severe and extreme drought (D3) expanded and abnormal dry conditions expanded in the eastern parts of the state (Figure 4).  Overall, the areas that showed improvement covered more ground than the areas with deterioration (Figure 5).  The percent of the state in extreme drought (D3) remained the same, while percent in all other categories declined slightly.  Summer crops and perennials are showing active growth and increased evapotranspiration demands, especially in the west (Figure 6). Drought stress is showing in many fields and is likely to continue if the sufficient moisture fails to materialize in timely intervals.

Figure 4. Current weekly drought status (U.S. Drought Monitor)

Figure 5. Change in weekly drought status (U.S. Drought Monitor)

Figure 6. Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI) for the week ending on June 19th (NOAA)


In the upcoming week, there is an increased chance of above-normal precipitation across the eastern third of the state (weekly average precipitation for late June is 0.7-1.5 inch). As we move into July, average precipitation across the state begins to decrease. As a result, even normal precipitation will be slow to result in improvement, especially as warmer-than-normal temperatures are expected.  The quantitative precipitation forecast favors at least some precipitation across the state, with less than a quarter of an inch along the KS/OK border in Southwest KS and as much as 1.75 inches in the extreme northeast (Figure 7). The July outlook favors warmer than normal temperatures for the state, with a slight chance of above normal precipitation confined to eastern Kansas (Figures 8 and 9).

Figure 7. Quantitative Precipitation Forecast for week ending 7/2/2020 (Weather Prediction Center)

Figure 8. Temperature outlook for July 2020 (Climate Prediction Center)


Figure 9. Precipitation outlook for July 2020 (Climate Prediction Center)




Mary Knapp, Assistant State Climatologist

Christopher “Chip” Redmond, Kansas Mesonet Manager

Tags:  weather Climate Drought