2005-In Review

     Average annual temperatures for the year 2005 were predominantly a degree-and-a-half...to as much as three degrees above normal throughout central and south central Nebraska and north central Kansas.  Superior was one of the few sites to finish with a cooler than normal year...finishing six-tenths of a degree below their annual average temperature of 53.2 degrees.  Kearney's above normal warmth surpassed all sites...and ended up 3.0 degrees warmer than their annual average 49.0 degrees.  It was the 8th consecutive year of above normal average annual temperatures at Kearney.  Ironically...1996...the year before Kearney began it's warming trend...was the coldest year of record for Kearney since 1931.  For many locations it was the 8th or 9th consecutive year of above normal annual temperatures.  2005 qualified as one of the 15 warmest years of record for many sites...the 5th warmest on record for Hastings...Kearney and Gothenburg...and the 12th warmest at Grand Island.

     The coldest temperature of the year was 18 degrees below zero at Greeley on January 15th.  The hottest...111 degrees at Phillipsburg on July 21st.


     The months of April...May and June had the closest to normal temperatures in an abnormally warm year. Three month average temperatures were one to two degrees above normal for most locations...with the only below normal temperatures reported at Superior and Beaver City.  January...February and March on the other hand stood out as the months with greatest deviation above normal...with the majority of sites finishing two to four degrees above normal.                                             


     Annual precipitation again fell short of normal for most locations and had it not been for a 100-year storm at Grand Island during the early morning of May 12th...Grand Island would have finished the year well below their 30 year average.  Two other sites...Phillipsburg and Plainville...also received record rainfall later in the summer...5.47 inches of rain in July provided the 9th wettest July on record at Phillipsburg...and 7.13 inches of rain near the end of August left Plainville with it's wettest August of record dating back to 1939. Since 2002...one of the driest years of record for most of our sites...there has been a gradual return toward average annual precipitation.


     Greeley finished the year with the greatest moisture deficit...with a reported 21.18 inches of precipitation...Greeley fell 4.85 inches short of their annual average precipitation.  On the other side of the coin...Phillipsburg wrapped the year up with the most annual precipitation...30.18 inches...which turned out to be the 9th wettest year based on records dating back to 1893...6.70 inches above the annual average.  Least precipitation for the year...20.00 inches at Gothenburg...2.25 inches below normal.


     Hastings recorded the most snowfall during the 2005 calendar year at 38.5 inches...the least...15.4 inches at Superior.


     The following is a month by month summary of local climatological sites.  You can review individual site data by clicking on the month...


For central Nebraska and north central Kansas...2005 began with contrasting differences in temperature and precipitation...with generally below average temperatures…and above average precipitation.  New Years Day saw average to above-average temperatures...but just a few days later on the fourth and fifth...winter returned in full force.  The first winter storm of the year finally arrived and dropped as much as 14 inches of snow in the Hastings area…and anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of snow across much of the region.  With a clearing sky…and a good base of snow...temperatures plummeted into the single digits below zero to around 10 below zero on the sixth.  These were not the coldest temperatures for the month...Arctic air dropping out of the northern plains on the fifteenth hit the northern and eastern parts of our region the hardest with morning lows in the teens below zero.  The “January Thaw” arrived on schedule the third week of January when temperatures rocketed into the 60s and lower 70s on the twenty-fourth.


Although average monthly temperatures were 3 degrees...to almost 7 degrees above normal in February...only 3 sites...Kearney...Holdrege and Gothenburg broke into their all-time top ten warmest February's of record.  Kearney's 34.3 degree average temperature made it the tenth warmest February of record...beating out the previous record 34.2 degrees set in 1995 and 1974 respectively.  Precipitation in February finished strong at most locations during the first half of the month.  The 2.16 inches of precipitation at Beloit made it the second wettest February there in 60 years...replacing the 2.10 inches of precipitation that fell in 1971 and 1969.


Other than the cold start to the month on the 1st...the March Lion was a no-show for most of our Climate Connection reporting sites.  Temperatures were above normal by some 1 to 4 degrees at nearly all locations. When considering that the average daily precipitation in March ranges from 4 hundredths to 8 hundredths an inch per day over the course of the month...the first 20 days of March were very dry by March standards until around the 20th when beneficial rain fell on the 20th through the 25th at many locations along and west of the Highway 281 corridor.


Two days at the beginning of the month...and a 5 to 7 day stretch during the middle of the month left most Climate Connection sites with above normal temperatures.  Thunderstorms on the 5th provided beneficial rain to many locations...and additional storms on the 11th and 18th left Hebron...York...Beloit and Phillipsburg with above normal monthly precipitation.


May's temperatures took wild swings with below normal temperatures at the beginning...middle and end of the month.  Despite the cooler temperatures...there were enough days of above normal warmth to leave most locations with average monthly temperatures anywhere from around one-half to two-and-a-half degrees above normal.  In May...our Climate Connection region averages 1 day in the north...to around 3 days in the southwest with daytime high temperatures at or above 90 degrees.  While many of these locations fell within their normal range...Beaver City (6 days)...Superior (5 days)...and Beloit...Phillipsburg and Plainville (4 days) exceeded their average.

Rainfall for the month was either "feast or famine"...and the "feast" was overwhelming for parts of south-central Nebraska.  Grand Island...and likely others...received 100-year record rainfall during the evening of May 11th and early morning of May 12th.  The heavy rain fell in three distinct areas...(1) From north of Bertrand northeast to Hazard.  (2) From Minden through Grand Island to Fullerton and (3) From Ong to just east of York and Gresham.  Unofficial reports of over 11 inches of rain were received from around Kenesaw and Wood River, Nebraska


June started out cool and damp during the first week...and it got cooler and rained some more during the second week of the month.  The last half of the month finished with daily temperatures 2 to 9 degrees above the daily norm leaving most locations with average monthly temperatures anywhere from around 1 to 3 degrees above normal.  Moisture was again plentiful in June...with the primary rain days around the third and the tenth.  At the mid-point of the year...Beloit and Hebron stand out with some of the largest moisture deficits...running around 2 to 4 inches short of the normal 6-month January through June average.


Despite a brief cool-down toward the end of the month...average temperatures in July finished a degree...to two-and-a-half degrees above normal.  The number of days with daytime highs at or above 100 degrees were for the most part below normal or par with the July average...while the majority of our sites finished above normal with days at or above 90 degrees.  Phillipsburg and Beaver City tied at 25 with the most days at or above 90 degrees...and Phillipsburg had 8 days at or above 100 degrees followed by 7 100 degree or warmer days at Hebron and Beloit.  There were 3 distinct periods of rain...the 4th-5th...17th-18th...and the 25th through the 27th.  Had it not been for heavy rain that occurred at Beloit and Phillipsburg at the end of the month...all stations would have finished significantly below average in the precipitation column.


It was a fairly typical August for most Climate Connection sites with monthly average temperatures winding up within a degree either side of normal.  Record heat set in on the 2nd and 3rd when temperatures broke above the century mark for everyone but York and Superior. Precipitation for the month finished above normal at most reporting sites but totals since April 1st averaged about an inch or less below normal for the 5 month period across east central and south central Nebraska.


Warm and dry weather prevailed across the area throughout September with average temperatures some 10 to 15 degrees warmer during the first 10 days of the month...and again on the 20th and 21st.  Only Hebron finished the month with above normal moisture with most of the months rainfall coming during the first half of the month.


Although the month started with warmer than normal temperatures...some 1 to 6 degrees above normal...the first frost of the season arrived nearly on time on the 7th with a killing freeze on the 24th.  Precipitation for the month was about a quarter to half inch above normal with the lions share of moisture falling during the third week of October.


November 2005 was a month mixed with extremes...with warmer and drier than average conditions for most of the month.  Record high temperatures occurred on the 2nd...11th and 23rd.  The first real taste of winter arrived on the 15th when a fast-moving cold front ushered in colder air...50 mph winds and a dusting of snow to many locations.  After the brief cold snap...warmer weather followed through the 27th before a rare late fall blizzard struck the 28th and 29th.  The crippling storm brought 40 to 60 mph winds...6 to 10 inches of snow and white-out conditions to most of the region.  While snowfall for November was higher than average...there was a quarter to three-quarter inch precipitation deficit for the month.


After the rapid cold snap in late November...winter temperatures and periods of snow continued through the first week of December before relenting to a return of warmer temperatures.  Above normal temperatures persisted across our region until the 16th and was then followed by a 5 day period of colder weather.  On the 21st...warmer weather again returned and average temperatures were some 10 to 20 degrees above normal for the rest of the month.  The lion's share of precipitation fell during the first week of December.  Overall...it was a dry month with most sites reporting precipitation deficits between a quarter to three quarters of an inch.

Report and data prepared by Larry Wirth

National Weather Service, Hastings, NE

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