Cooler, wetter weather to continue

By Jeff Wichman, Kansas State University
July 08, 2015

The drought monitor index for Kansas is improving.

Following a wet spring, Kansas State University assistant state climatologist Mary Knapp says the state no longer has any counties in extreme drought and that we’re down to moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions in some areas.

"The moderate drought is mostly in northwestern Kansas, with a edge of abnormally dry around that moving into north central Kansas and then again an area in southwestern Kansas that’s still considered abnormally dry," Knapp said. "We now only have 37 counties remaining on the drought watch category, whereas a month ago the entire state was in drought emergency, so we’ve made major improvements."

The areas that are no longer officially in drought status, which includes McPherson County, by the U.S. drought monitor are being watched closely by the state because it wouldn’t take much to worsen conditions.

However, Knapp says precipitation is in the extended outlook for quite a while.

"Wetter-than-normal is the forecast for July," Knapp said. "And, if you look at the three month outlook, also wetter-than-normal. And, if you look at the six month outlook, which carries us through November, it’s still wetter-than-normal."

The long-range outlook also calls for cooler-than-normal temperatures. El Nino often gets the credit for the wetter, cooler weather in Kansas, but Knapp says two other patterns are also having an influence; a ridge that continues to plague the West Coast that’s sending cold air down through the Central Plains producing more storm events in northeast Kansas, and an active monsoon season in the Southwest U.S. that’s bringing more moisture to southwest Kansas.