WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – From one extreme to another, Kansas weather can turn on a dime.
Kansans know all too well what living on that edge between bitterly cold and unseasonably warm air masses means.
This year La Nina will play a big part in our weather.
“If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes and it will change,” is a saying we all know and Kansas lives up to it.
We have already seen extremes in temperatures the last few months and winter has not started yet.
Temperatures in September and October were below normal. In October, Wichita picked up 1.6 inches of snow, a record for the time.
Now, the tides have turned. We have seen temperatures trend way above average for November. The temperatures are 4.5 degrees above the norm right now.
This warmer than average trend will continue through winter because of La Nina. The cooling of the waters off the coast of Peru prompts the coldest air to stay locked to the north. Central and southern states feel the warmest.
This occurs every 3 to 5 years. The last time we faced a La Nina winter was 2016-2017.
Wichita averages 14.9 inches of snow a year. We will be below that amount this winter.
Warm, windy and dry days could prompt more wildfires which we have seen lately, including the Wheat State Fire that burned more than 5,000 acres near Burrton this month.
Kansas is always at the mercy of our weather pattern. The slightest twitch can turn the tables, bring the chill and prompt an influx of moisture. It is that living on the edge we have come to know so well.
This winter we will still have waves of bitterly cold temperatures and stretches of rain and snow. However, they will not last long before transitioning back to warm and dry weather until spring.
La Nina typically stays in effect for nine months to a year. During the spring of our last La Nina, moisture proved more fruitful for portions of the state by April.
It cannot come soon enough.