Author: Mary Knapp

What started out as a week with a spring-like feel in Kansas turned aggressive with a return to winter by mid-week. Various impacts extended across the central Plains, including a blizzard for the High Plains, heavy rains and flooding for Kansas/Nebraska, and very strong winds across the entire region. One of the most unusual features was the rapid drop in pressure. This system was so strong, it broke the state low pressure record in Colorado and came extremely close in Kansas as well. Standard air pressure in a benign atmosphere is around 1013 millibars (mb). At the peak intensity/lowest pressure of the storm, nearby weather stations in far southeast Colorado dropped to 970.2mb. This shattered the previous Colorado state record (976.3mb on February 9, 1960). In Kansas, the lowest pressure was 971.87 mb at Stanton. The strong pressure gradient drove the strong winds, with peak winds in KS exceeding 70 mph.

Figure 1. Barometric pressure (KS Mesonet)

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library