WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Monday kicked of Severe Weather Awareness Week. Last year was a busy season for severe weather.
Before we dig into spring, let us take a look back at the winter we have had. No two winters are ever the same in Kansas. Overall, temperatures have trended above average throughout the season.
December was exceptionally warm. Wichita averaged 5.1 degrees warmer. In the middle of December, there was a brief cold snap where temperatures did not warm above freezing.
It did not last long. During the month, there were six 60 degree days. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were in the 70s.
January was also another month that trended warmer than average, and Super Bowl Sunday in February hit a whopping 76 degrees in Wichita, celebrating a Chiefs win in our shorts and flip-flops.
Moisture has been above average, but select parts of the state have been missing out, like around the Hutchinson area and to the west, from Garden City down to Elkhart. We have been at the mercy of our active weather pattern which lays down who gets the most and who gets robbed.
A strong storm system February 23rd through the 24th brought a wide swath of 1-2 inches of rain to a good chunk of the state. This ranked Wichita as the top 10 to top 15 wettest starts to the year.
As for snowfall amounts, it has been disappointing. We have had several small storms that were a nuisance for drivers.
The only one that registers as being healthy or substantial was for western Kansas on January 27th and 28th. A few spots picked up more than a foot of snow. Dodge City raked in 5.4 inches. Goodland had 4 inches.
Wichita’s seasonal stance for snow is down, with an average 14.9 inches of snow per year. Right now, the city has had around 8 inches of snow, only if you include the snow we picked up on October 30.
This winter we have been in a neutral phase of El Nino, or the warming waters off the coast of Peru. It is expected to continue through spring and over summer.
Our weather pattern right now has storm systems taking a more southerly jog from southern California to the Central High Plains. They are frequent and do not linger long.
Right now, we are lacking significant cold air across much of the country. Arctic blasts may flirt with us for the next few weeks in March but will not stick around.
With the active weather pattern in place along with brief bursts of cold, quick snow chances will remain until April.
Temperatures will turn above average in April. Gardeners may still want to hold off on planting until after April 15.
All the moisture that is being laid down to our south in Oklahoma and Texas could enhance thunderstorm development this spring. I suspect our severe weather season will turn active, possibly within the first seven to 10 days of April.
If this pattern continues, April, May and potentially June, could all be busier than normal for storms and severe weather.
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