October was a very wet month across the state. In fact, it ranks as the second wettest October since 1895. The wettest October on record was in 1941 when the state-wide average precipitation was 5.99 inches. For October 2018, the state-wide average precipitation was 5.88 inches, 259 percent of normal.
The Northwest Division received the least rainfall with an average of 2.62 inches. That is a surplus of 1.06 inches, or 165 percent of normal. The South Central Division was the wettest, with an average of 7.97 inches at 5.33 inches above normal, or 305 percent of normal. There were 165 new daily record rainfall totals, of which 3 were records for any day in October. The highest 24-hour rainfall total for a National Weather Service Cooperative (NWS Coop) station was 5.55 inches at Stilwell 1N, Johnson County, on the October 8. The greatest 24-hour rainfall total for a Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow network station (CoCoRaHS) was 6.44 inches recorded at Coats 3.3 NNE, Pratt County, on October 9. The greatest monthly precipitation totals for October: 13.59 inches at Stilwell 1N, Johnson County (NWS) and 13.24 inches at Princeton 2.0 NE, Franklin County (CoCoRaHS).
Not all precipitation was in the form of rainfall. A total of 257 stations reported snowfall in October, with monthly totals ranging from trace amounts in eastern Kansas to 9 inches at the CoCoRaHS station north of St. Francis, Cheyenne County.
Despite a warm start to the month, October temperatures were cooler-than-normal. State-wide average temperature for the month was 53.0 degrees F, which is 2.3 degrees cooler-than-normal. All divisions across Kansas were cooler-than-normal. The Northwest Division and the West Central division tied for the largest departure, with an average of 48.6 and 50.0 degrees F, or 3.6 degrees cooler-than-normal. The Southeast Division came closest to normal with an average of 57.1 degrees F or 0.8 degrees cooler-than-normal. The variability was evident in the range of temperatures. The warmest maximum temperature was 101 degrees F at Tribune 13NNE, Greeley County, on October 4. The coldest minimum temperature at a NWS station was 12 degrees F, recorded at Brewster 4W, Sherman County, on October 16. The Kansas Mesonet station in Cheyenne County, south of St. Francis, reported a low of 9 degrees F. There were 11 record daily high maximum temperatures in October and 121 record daily low maximum temperatures. On the minimum temperature side, there was one record high minimum compared and only 60 record low minimums.
For once, hail was not featured in the severe weather reports. High winds and a tornado were major contributors to severe weather in Kansas during October. Flooding was again present, with much of the damage occurring in South Central, Kansas.
Much higher-than-normal precipitation, coupled with cooler-than-normal temperatures resulted in major improvements in the drought conditions. The area of the state that was drought-free jumped from 78 percent at the beginning of October to 91 percent by the end of the month. Moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions linger in the eastern parts of the state. The November outlook has increased chances for above-normal precipitation across most of Kansas. However, given the typically low precipitation at this time of the year, continued improvement is likely to be slow. The temperature outlook is for cooler-than-normal temperatures across all but the western edges of Kansas.
Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library