A major ice storm swept across most of southwest Kansas during the first week in January on the 4th and 5th. This storm left a thick layer of ice over most of the area followed by periods of sleet, and then a blanket of snow. Over 3/4ths of an inch of ice accumulated in the Medicine Lodge and Sublette areas while up to two inches of sleet accumulated in the LaCrosse area. Widespread tree limb damage, extended power outages, and numerous school closings were reported, as well as numerous accidents. The power outages were so widespread, mainly from fallen limbs and downed power lines, that Aquilla Power Company set up an 800 number to report outages. Nearly all of the area received an inch or two of snow, with the highest amount of 4 inches reported near Schoenchen in Ellis County. Another strong winter storm moved through the area on the 27th and 28th. A 20 mile wide band of at least 6 inches of snow had fallen from central Comanche county to southwestern Clark County to southeastern Meade County. Very heavy snow fell in the southern part of the area on the 30th and 31st. At least 6 inches of snow had fallen in this area. The highest amounts were from 12 to 16 inches in a 30 mile wide band from northwestern Meade county to northeastern Clark county. Seventeen inches of snow was reported near Minneola in Clark County. One aspect that was unusual with this storm is that there was very little wind. There were reports of six inches of snow piled on top of barb wire fences! For the month of January, Dodge City ended up with 10.7 inches of snow which was the 7th highest January on record for snowfall. Dodge City also had the 5th wettest January on record with 1.70 inches of precipitation.
Some snow, freezing drizzle and sleet fell during the early part of February in parts of Southwest Kansas, but snowfall amounts were less than 5 inches. Dodge City only received a tenth of an inch of snow for the entire month. Temperatures during the month were relatively mild as Dodge City was 3.9 degrees above normal. Just about all of the precipitation (0.89 inches) for February was in the form of rain.
March was a pretty quiet month for weather. Thunderstorms produced hail on the 20th from Ness and Rush counties southward to Comanche county. The first tornadoes of the year developed in Comanche county on the 21st, but they did not do any damage. There was some snow on the 26th in the southwest corner with one to four inches reported. Dodge City only reported a trace of snow for the month.
The month of April saw three very active days of severe weather and they were on the 5th, 10th and 20th. On the 5th there were several reports of tornadoes from Seward County to Haskell and Gray Counties. Only one tornado did any damage and that was in Seward County west-northwest of Kismet. A roof was blown off a barn, windows were blown out of a vehicle and power lines were taken down. Tornadoes were also reported on the 10th in Scott, Trego, Ellis and Rush counties. Damage was reported in Trego and Ellis counties. Severe thunderstorms developed on the 20th from near Ashland over into the Kinsley and Pratt areas. There were numerous reports of large hail that day. Hail that was just over 4 inches in diameter was reported 6 miles north of Englewood.
During the month of May there was an outbreak of severe weather on the 11th, 12th and 23rd. There was an F2 tornado that developed on the 11th just northeast of Ulysses. Part of a barn was blown off and a large tree was uprooted two miles northeast of Ulysses. Several horses were slightly injured. As the tornado moved northeast, an abandoned mobile home was destroyed along with several grain bins, pivot sprinklers, power poles and large trees. This tornado moved into southern Kearny County before roping out. Estimated damage was 350,000 dollars. The storms on the 12th were mainly hail producers, and the storms on the 23rd were wind producers and lasted into the early morning hours of the 24th. Winds gusts were estimated as high as 60 to 70 mph with the strongest storms.
June saw even more severe weather. There were 14 days of at least one severe report. The most active day was on the 16th when there were 70 reports. On the 9th, an F3 tornado did significant damage near Trego Center. Several farms, outbuildings and trees were damaged. One 1500 pound heifer was thrown one quarter of a mile. The tornado actually made a loop traveling back west, south then back to the north and dissipated rapidly. Some of the structures were protected in a ravine but still sustained major damage. Several cottonwood trees with six foot diameter trunks were pulled out of the ground. There were a few other tornadoes that also developed that day. Hail did lots of crop damage on the 12th in Ford, Grant, Haskell and Stanton counties. A tornado touched down in Haskell County and moved into Seward County on the 16th and did damage to mainly sprinkler systems.
Most of the severe weather for the month of July was during the first five days of the month. Severe thunderstorms also developed on the 25th with several reports of wind gusts in excess of 60 mph in Ellis, Finney and Gray Counties. Dodge City reported its first 100 degree day of the summer on the 20th with a reading of 103 degrees. There were five more straight days of 100 degree temperatures before it cooled off. Record low temperatures were set at Dodge City on the 27th, 28th and 29th as readings fell into the upper 40s to mid 50s. Rainfall at Dodge City was also nearly two (1.88) inches below normal for the month.
Triple digit temperatures returned to Dodge City on the last day of July and continued until the 3rd of August. A temperature of 100 degrees was also reached on August 19th and September 21st bringing the total to 12. Most of the severe weather for August occurred during the second half of the month with the typical large hail and high winds. There was very little damage reported.
The weather in September was relatively quiet. Thunderstorms produced very heavy rain in southwestern Grant County on the evening of the 6th and the early morning hours of the 7th. As much as 7.5 inches of rain was reported 11 miles southwest of Ulysses. There were several reports of large hail in southwest Kansas from the 11th to the14th. No severe weather developed the rest of the month. The average September temperature for Dodge City was well above normal at 74.1 degrees, which was 4.8 degrees above normal. This was the 7th warmest September on record.
October saw a few days of severe weather mainly during the second half of the month. The most active day was on the 19th when there were 35 reports of mostly large hail. There were 2 tornadoes reported that day, one in Meade County and the other in Gray County. Neither did any damage. The first freeze at Dodge City occurred on the 23rd as the temperature got down to 30 degrees.
Hardly any snow fell in November until the 27th when a cold front blasted southward across the area. This system brought very strong north winds that were sustained in the 40 to 50 mph range for almost a 24 hour period. The wind combined with the blowing snow reduced visibility to less than one mile at times. The highest snowfall amount was just over 4 inches south of Offerle in Ford County. Earlier in the month, another strong cold front brought strong north winds in the 30 to 40 mph range to the area on the 15th. There were a few gusts to 60 mph. Temperatures for November were very mild for this time of year before cold air settled into southwest Kansas the last three days of the month.
An unbelievable number of tornadoes occurred in the 27 county area during 2005. Fifty-two were reported, which is likely a record for any year. However, there were no injuries or fatalities!!