Author: Mary Knapp

Mild spring-like weather has taken hold of Kansas to end January. However, the weather forecast for the first several days of February calls for winter to return with a vengeance. Temperatures are expected to drop back into the teens. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center 3-month outlook for February-April is calling for equal chances of above- or below-normal temperatures. This is a good indication that the roller-coaster pattern of warm/cold periods is likely to continue.

The outlook for February (the first part of the season) calls for equal chances on the temperatures. This means that it is equally likely for temperatures to be above or below average.

The precipitation pattern for February is clearer, with an increased chance of above-normal precipitation. It is important to note that the outlook doesn’t indicate by how much the condition might be wetter. Also, it is interesting to note that those increased chances for wetter conditions are strongest in the western divisions. These areas missed out on most of the January precipitation, and will need increasing precipitation to remain out of drought.

As the outlook is extended to the full spring season, the temperature outlook continues in the neutral pattern. However, the tilt towards wetter-than-normal conditions is stronger. The pattern also continues to be strongest in the western divisions.

The El Niño continues to be strong, numbering among the strongest on record. An El Niño generally favors wetter-than-normal conditions in the Central Plains. However, this El Niño is expected to fade as we move toward summer. Additionally, the correlation of an El Niño to a given weather pattern is not as reliable during the late spring as during the winter.

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library