Climatological Report (Monthly)
Issued by NWS
CXUS53 KICT 051628
CLIMATE REPORT...INCLUDED MONTHLY NARRATIVE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WICHITA KS
1118 AM CDT WED APR 5 2017
...THE CHANUTE KS CLIMATE SUMMARY FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH 2017...
CLIMATE NORMAL PERIOD 1981 TO 2010
CLIMATE RECORD PERIOD 1894 TO 2017
WEATHER OBSERVED NORMAL DEPART LAST YEAR`S
VALUE DATE(S) VALUE FROM VALUE DATE(S)
HIGH 95 03/21/1916
LOW -4 03/11/1948
HIGHEST 87 03/20 80 03/23
LOWEST 19 03/15 24 03/25
AVG. MAXIMUM 63.1 58.1 5.0 65.4
AVG. MINIMUM 41.0 36.1 4.9 39.1
MEAN 52.0 47.1 4.9 52.2
DAYS MAX >= 90 0 0.0 0.0 0
DAYS MAX <= 32 0 0.6 -0.6 0
DAYS MIN <= 32 11 10.6 0.4 10
DAYS MIN <= 0 0 0.0 0.0 0
MAXIMUM 12.08 1973
MINIMUM 0.00 1904
TOTALS 2.02 3.04 -1.02 1.41
DAILY AVG. 0.07 0.10 -0.03 0.05
DAYS >= .01 9 8.7 0.3 6
DAYS >= .10 6 5.0 1.0 4
DAYS >= .50 1 1.8 -0.8 1
DAYS >= 1.00 0 0.7 -0.7 0
24 HR. TOTAL 0.80 03/29 TO 03/29
HEATING TOTAL 410 559 -149 388
SINCE 7/1 3178 4131 -953 3353
COOLING TOTAL 17 4 13 0
AVERAGE WIND SPEED 12.6
HIGHEST WIND SPEED/DIRECTION 39/190 DATE 03/06
HIGHEST GUST SPEED/DIRECTION 53/190 DATE 03/06
AVERAGE SKY COVER 0.50
NUMBER OF DAYS FAIR 13
NUMBER OF DAYS PC 9
NUMBER OF DAYS CLOUDY 9
AVERAGE RH (PERCENT) 60
WEATHER CONDITIONS. NUMBER OF DAYS WITH
THUNDERSTORM 5 MIXED PRECIP 0
HEAVY RAIN 5 RAIN 8
LIGHT RAIN 12 FREEZING RAIN 0
LT FREEZING RAIN 0 HAIL 0
HEAVY SNOW 0 SNOW 0
LIGHT SNOW 1 SLEET 0
FOG 11 FOG W/VIS <= 1/4 MILE 0
- INDICATES NEGATIVE NUMBERS.
R INDICATES RECORD WAS SET OR TIED.
MM INDICATES DATA IS MISSING.
T INDICATES TRACE AMOUNT.
...Where There`s Smoke There`s Definitely Fire...
Excessively warm (more like hot), dry and windy weather this March
led to a dreaded 4-letter word:
More specifically, grassland fire.
Many areas experienced an extreme grassland fire danger each day
from the 1st to the 9th. This required Red Flag Warnings to be
issued each day. No area was spared, not even in Southeast Kansas
where relative humidities are often higher than in either Central or
Grassland fires raged in many areas along, and west, of I-135. The
fires were especially serious in Russell, Barton, and Reno Counties.
The most serious grassland fires raged on the 6th when westerly
winds, sustained from 35 to 45 mph with 50 to 60 mph gusts, whipped
across the region. The strong winds sent temperatures soaring and
relative humidities plummeting. In Hutchinson, between 10,000 and
12,000 people were evacuated. On the 8th, 1,000 to 2,000 Hutchinson
residents remained displaced. Kansas National Guard Black Hawk
helicopters dropped around 138,000 gallons on the fires around
Hutchinson. Evacuations also took place in parts of Russell County.
On the 6th, the mercury hit 80 to 85 degrees in most areas along and
west of I-35/I-135.
Not surprisingly, record highs were set. Salina`s high of 85 torched
the record of 79 set in 1972. Hutchinson`s high of 83 scorched the
74 degree mark set in 2000 and 2007. Wichita`s high of 79 was just 1
degree shy of the 80-degree mark set way back in 1925 while
Chanute`s 78 degree high came up 3 degrees short of their record set
also in 1925.
On the 19th, the atmosphere turned on the after-burners again, when
southerly 30 to 40 mph winds sent temperatures soaring to around 90
degrees. Record highs were set in Central and Southeast Kansas. The
92-degree high that scorched Salina blow torched the record of 86
set 110 years ago in 1907. The 90-degree high that roasted Russell
torched the record of 83 set in 1972. Chanute`s 87-degree high broke
the record of 83 set in 1995. Wichita`s high of 89 was 2 degrees shy
of the record set 110 years ago. No doubt, the Red Flags needed to
be hoisted yet again.
The heat continued on the 20th as temperatures once again soared to
near 90 degrees in several areas. The 89-degree high in Wichita set
a record for the date, breaking the mark of 87 degrees set 110 years
ago in 1907. Chanute`s 87-degree high easily broke the record of 82
degrees set in 1911 and again in 1953.
From March 1st to the 9th, Wichita`s average temperature was 51.8
degrees which made 2017 the Air Capital`s 8th warmest start to any
March. This was an astounding 8.8 degrees above normal. Salina`s
average temperature from the 1st to the 9th was also 51.8 degrees,
but was even more impressive as this was an even 10 degrees above
With the prolonged heat, it appeared 2017 would easily join the "Ten
Warmest Marches" Fraternity, but a cold spell from the 10th to the
14th saw calendar day averages that were frequently 8 to 15 degrees
below normal. On the 14th, Chanute`s average of 28 degrees was 18
degrees below normal.
A 2nd prolonged, and this time wet, period arrived on the 24th and
would continue through the end of the month.
Wichita`s final average temperature was 51.5 degrees, which made
2017 the Air Capital`s 11th warmest March. Chanute`s final average
was 52.0 degrees, which is tied with 1986 as their 13th warmest
while Salina`s final average of 50.3 degrees is their 15th warmest.
It certainly didn`t help the fire situation on the 6th when severe
thunderstorms packing 65 to 75 mph winds tore through the region
that evening. There was some roof damage in and around El Dorado,
and in Southeast Kansas, a house partially collapsed and a roof was
blown off a machine shed.
It proved to be wet and somewhat wild from the 24th to the 30th as
an "assembly line" of cyclones moved in a general easterly manner
across the Great Plains.
Strong and occasionally severe thunderstorms paid several visits. On
the evening of the 26th, winds from 60 to 70 mph snapped power poles
and uprooted several trees in parts of South-Central Kansas.
The faucet was turned up considerably on the 28th and 29th as very
heavy rains swamped many areas with 2 to 4 inches that definitely
ended the extreme grassland fire danger, but for several areas, it
was too much, too quickly. Flooding occurred in parts of Central and
South-Central Kansas where several rivers "rose to the occasion".
The 1.89 inches measured on the 28th at Wichita Eisenhower Airport
broke the record of 1.21 inches set for the date way back in 1938.
On the 29th, Salina measured 1.69 inches which broke the record of
1.04 inches measured in 1993.
Up to and including the 23rd, Wichita measured a paltry 0.02 inch of
rain. From the 24th to 31st, the Air Capital was doused with 3.48
inches. Salina`s rainfall trend nearly mirrored Wichita`s. Through
the 23rd, they had measured a feeble 0.04 inch, but from 24th to the
end of the month, they were soaked with 3.58 inches. Chanute`s rain
trends in March weren`t as dramatic as Wichita`s or Salina`s, but
1.76 inches of their 2.02 inch March total were received from the
24th onward. The 1.76 inches accounted for 87% of their monthly
Believe it or not, 25% of 2017 is in the books. As far as severe
thunderstorms and tornadoes are concerned, this has been a nasty
spring for the Southern Plains, but as we know, April can be just as
volatile in Kansas, so remain alert.