Gov. Jeff Colyer has issued a state of disaster declaration for a winter storm expected to hit western Kansas through Thursday. If you’re traveling westward, you might adjust your plans.
Central Kansas, however, should just be cold and wet.
A storm that formed in Texas and Oklahoma on Wednesday started moving through northeast Kansas last night and today, bringing with it lots of rain, wind and cold temperatures, said Chad Omitt, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka.
The Goodland area is receiving snow and wind, he said.
The high temperatures in Dickinson County were in the 50s Wednesday, but it’s going to start feeling like December. Highs today will be in the 40s, but then start dropping this afternoon. And the winds will pick up with gusts as high as 30 mph.
By the end of the day, some areas of Dickinson County could have as much as 3 inches of rain.
There also will be a chance of minor flooding along rivers, Omitt said.
Temperatures will be only in the high 20s or low 30s Friday and Saturday, according to the NWS. On Friday the sun will start to come out, but it will still be windy.
This weather is quite a change from last year, when it was “especially dry,” Omitt said, with very little precipitation from October to April.
We’re catching up now, he said, with soil moisture about where we should be, he said.
But, he wondered, is this too much too fast?
“It’s not normal for this time of year,” said Kevin Whitehair, farmer and ag retailer with Mid Kansas Co-op. “The amount of rainfall we’ve gotten is unprecedented this fall.”
To date, it’s only the second wettest on record.
According to Mary Knapp, state climatologist based at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Sept. 1 to Dec. 25, 2018, is the second wettest on record with 15.88 inches of precipitation. The same days in 1973 were wetter with 17.1 inches.
The precipitation these two days should put us over normal for December which is 1.85 inches. As of Dec. 25, the area had 1.23 inches. The month so far has had only 0.1 inch of snow when normal is 5.2 inches.
Normal November precipitation is 1.85 inches; the area had 1.23 inches. However, it made up for it with 8 inches of snow when normal is 1 inch.
October really was a wet month, with about 7 inches of precipitation, almost 4 inches more than the normal of 3.03 inches. And the month saw a bit more snow, 0.5 inches rather than the 0.3 expected.
“As farmers, we never like to turn down moisture, but we’ve already had plenty,” Whitehair said. “We’d like to have it another time of year.”
The wet has made it “challenging” for some of the farmers to get in their fall crops, he said.
With the cold expected, there’s also a chance for winter kill, if the wheat isn’t already established, Whitehair said. He estimated that at least 50 percent of next year’s wheat was planted late and could be at risk without a blanket of snow to protect it.
The good news, Omitt said, is that after this, there are no major storm systems on the horizon, so we should have time for a little dry-out.
Contact Jean Bowers at firstname.lastname@example.org.