Looking Back at the Weather in 2012...       



The following is a summary of significant weather events of 2012 which impacted the NWS Hastings coverage area, encompassing 30 counties in south central Nebraska and north central Kansas. The summary includes our 'Top Picks' for significant weather events throughout 2012, as well as temperature and precipitation data for the Grand Island and Hastings, record information, tornado data, as well as highlighted weather stories and events.


 

Top Weather Events:


 Heat/Drought and the Lack of Weather
Drought and the Lack of Weather.

2012 will be remembered as a year of extremes across the region, as when all was said and done, 2012 ended as the 4th-warmest and all-time driest year on record in the Grand Island area since record keeping began (1895). While precipiation totals varied across the region over the past year, one thing is certain, it was an exceptionally dry year across the entire Central Plains region. Starting off 2012, just under 75% of the state of Nebraska was void of abnormally dry or drought conditions, however by Christmas day, 100% of the state was classified as being in a drought, with more than 75% of the state experiencing exceptional (D4) drought conditions. This was in part aided by an exceptionally warm and dry start to the year, with both Hastings and Hebron recording their earliest last freeze dates on record. With the lack of moisture in the soil to start the spring, temperatures soared across the region through the summer, with Grand Island recording the most 95+ degree days on record in 75 years as well as only one month with below normal temperatures (October). Other than 2 significant snow storms, the first in February and the second in December, the other 10 months were plagued by below normal precipitation. In fact, only 0.16" of rain fell in Grand Island during the month of July, which is normally the 3rd wettest month of the year. In addition, only 3.72" of rain fell in Grand Island over the three wettest months of May-July, which was over 8" below the 30-year normal of 12.11".


A potent winter storm system crossing the Central Plains on February 3rd and 4th produced widespread heavy, wet snowfall, with the heaviest amounts of 6 to 13 inches falling across much of south central Nebraska. This snowstorm turned out to be the biggest of the Winter 2011-2012 snowfall season. Bradshaw recorded the greatest snowfall total of 13.3 inches, and swath of 10 to 12 inches fell from Holdrege to Hastings to York. Rain preceded the snowstorm and the two day precipitation total (rain and snow) for Hastings was 1.58 inches, which set a new two-day record for February. While much of Kansas missed out on the heaviest snow, with more rain falling than snow, precipitation amounts were still generous with Beloit recording 1.68 inches of precipitation (rain and melted snow) for the two day period. Burr Oak recorded 1.25 inches and Smith Center was not far behind at 1.23 inches. (Photo by Kirt Smith)
 

Heavy Snow February 3-4

Heavy Snow February 3-4.
   
Tornadoes in February.

History was made in Nebraska on February 28th when weather conditions came together for an early severe weather event with thunderstorms and tornadoes. An intense low pressure system emerged from the Rockies and crossed the Central Plains. Ahead of the approaching system, warm and moist air was drawn north, and by afternoon dewpoints rose into the 50s across eastern Kansas into central and eastern Nebraska, and caused instability to increase. Strong to severe thunderstorms developed along a dry line and cold front by mid afternoon, and the storms continued into the early evening hours. The first tornado (EF0) developed in Kansas, and tracked along a two mile path from five miles southeast of Randall, KS to six miles east southeast of Randall and damaged a farm. A second tornado (EF0) formed in Nebraska and touched down four miles west of Greeley and overturned an irrigation pivot. Up until this year (2012), there were no documented tornadoes in Nebraska during the month of February. Although these two tornadoes were the first documented in south central Nebraska and north central Kansas, the Greeley tornado was not the first February tornado in Nebraska. This was because just a few hours earlier, an EF0 tornado touched down near Gandy/Stapleton in western Nebraska within the NWS North Platte coverage area. (Photo by Tim Marquis)

   

Large hail was a common theme from severe thunderstorms during the month of May.  Begining right away on May 1st, hail the size of ping pong balls (1.5") fell near Aurora and York, NE.  On May 2nd, hail the size of softballs (4.25") was reported on the north side of Hastings, NE, while tennis ball hail fell south of Logan, KS.  Also on the 2nd, hen egg size hail (2") fell in/near Fullerton, Geneva and Juniata.  May 4th saw a swath of large hail of golf ball to baseball size from Ord to Saint Paul, NE, with the Saint Paul area seeing the largest stones.  Toward the latter part of May, severe storms on the 19th produced hen egg (2") hail near Deweese, and ping pong ball size (1.5") in the Gothenburg, Blue Hill, Superior areas in Nebraska and in the  Phillipsburg and Jewell areas in Kansas.  During the Memorial Day holiday weekend, on the 27th, another round of severe storms produced baseball size hail (2.75") in Kirwin, KS, and hen egg size (2") in Athol, KS and Riverton, NE.  (Photo by Sarah Boucher Kranjc)

 May - The Month of Large Hail

The Month of Large hail.
   

Crazy Winds in October

Crazy Winds.

Strong and gusty northwest winds buffeted the Central Plains on October 17 and 18th, with the most intense winds occurring on the 18th.  Wind speeds averaged 35 to 45 mph and wind gusts of 50 and 65 mph were common. Ord recorded the highest peak wind gust of 70 mph, and Grand Island had  the second highest peak wind gust of 63 mph.  The intense winds were caused from a tight surface pressure gradient between a deep low pressure system in Minnesota, and a strong high pressure system in the central Rockies.  The strong and gusty winds caused visibility restrictions in blowing dust.  In western Fillmore County, near Sutton, a fire rapidly spread and burned around 3,000 acres and several outbuildings on October 17th.   On the 18th, the winds damaged a few powerlines, trees, and outbuildings, and tore a roof off of a trailer home.

   

Winter arrived in full force on December 19th in the form of blizzard conditions.  A winter storm emerged from the central Rockies and crossed the Central Plains, producing quick hitting and widespread snowfall.  Gusty north winds combined with the falling snow to produce white out or blizzard conditions for several hours beginning in the afternoon hours and carrying into the first part of the night.  Most loacations picked up at least 3 to 6 inches of snowfall (lesser amounts in north central Kansas), however a swath of heavier snow fell from the Franklin and Red Cloud areas northeast through Hastings to the York and Osceola areas where amounts ranged from 7 to 10 inches.  Much needed liquid water equivalent (melted snow) occured with Grand Island setting a new daily record precipitation amount of 1.04 inches.  The previous record was 0.71 inch set in 1952.  (Photo by Carol Cartier).  On the last day of the month, New Year's Eve 2012, another fairly significant winter storm struck mainly the southern 1/3 of the coverage area, primarily impacting North Central Kansas with widespread snowfall amounts of 4-7 inches.

December 19th Blizzard

December Blizzard.

     

 

Tornado Summary:

The severe weather season was relatively quiet during 2012, so it stands to reason that the number of days with tornadoes, and the number of tornadoes were infrequent as well.  There were just seven days during the year when tornadoes occurred in south central Nebraska and north central Kansas, with a total 14 confirmed tornadoes.  Of the 14 tornadoes, three were rated EF1, and the remaining 11 tornadoes were rated EF0. 

The
year got off to an early start with tornadoes briefly touching down on February 28th, near Randall, KS and near Greeley, NE.  These tornadoes were the first-ever documented during the month of February within the NWS Hastings coverage area of south central Nebraksa and north central Kansas.  The month of March had just one tornado day, April was more active with three days with tornado activity, and five of the 14 tornadoes of the season occured on the 14th of April (the most active day of the 2012 tornado season).  May saw two days with tornadoes, with the season coming to a close on May 27th.

   2012 Tornadoes.

 

  
     Tornadoes in 2012 - South Central Nebraska and North Central Kansas

Date Location  Path Length
 Path Width
(Max)
 Rating Injuries
 Deaths
February 28 5SE Randall, KS to 6ESE Randall, KS 2.36 miles 50 yards EF0 0 0
February 28 4W Greeley, NE to 3.7W Greeley, NE 0.28 mile 25 yards EF0 0 0
March 19 2.0 ESE Montrose, KS to 2.1W Formoso, KS 0.81 mile 40 yards EF0 0 0
April 14 4S Tipton, KS to 1.4ESE Tipton, KS 3.99 miles 300 yards EF1 0 0
April 14 1.8ESE Hardy, NE to 4.6E Hardy, NE 3.12 miles 41 yards EF0 0 0
April 14 2.1E Deshler, NE to 2.2E Deshler, NE 0.04 mile 25 yards EF0 0 0
April 14 1.5NNW Alexandria, NE to 1.7 NNW Alexandria, NE 0.33 mile 60 yards EF0 0 0
April 14 3.5NNE Oxford, NE to 4.3 NNE Oxford, NE 0.81 mile 40 yards EF0 0 0
April 15 2.2W Litchfield, NE to 1.9 WNW Litchfield, NE 0.49 mile 40 yards EF0 0 0
April 15 5.3ESE Ord, NE 0.04 mile 25 yards EF0 0 0
April 27 7.2ESE Woodruff, KS to 10.9E Woodruff, KS 4.44 miles 40 yards EF0 0 0
May 2 1.6NNE Davenport, NE to 2.3 NNE Davenport, NE 0.64 mile 250 yards EF1 0 0
May 2 5.9SW Shickley, NE to 5.5SW Shickley, NE 0.37 mile 250 yards EF1 0 0
May 27 6.1SSE Greeley, NE to 6.1SSE Greeley, NE 0.06 mile 15 yards EF0 0 0

 

 

Monthly Climate Data:

(Climate Normals based on 1981-2010 data)


 
 Grand Island (Central Nebraska Regional Airport)

   January  February  March   April    May   June    July    August September  October  November  December
Average High (F)  45.1  40.9  69.2  69.1  80.9  88.7  96.0  88.7  83.1  63.4  55.7 39.6
Average Low (F)  19.4  19.3  39.0  43.3  52.5  62.6  68.9  61.0  50.0  37.2  28.5  17.4
Average Temperature (F)  32.2  30.1  54.1  56.2  66.7  75.7 82.4 74.8  66.5  50.3  42.1 28.5
Departure from Normal (F)  +7.1  +1.0  +14.7  +5.6  +5.5  +4.4  +6.2  +0.8  +1.4  -1.9  +4.0  +1.8
             
Precipitation (inches)  0.16  1.05  0.83  1.41  2.29  1.27  0.16  0.94  0.47  0.78 0.53 1.66
Departure from Normal  -0.37  +0.37  -0.97  -1.12  -2.12  -3.03  -3.24  -2.18  -1.76  -1.08  -0.64 +1.03
             
Snowfall (inches)  1.6  10.2  T  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  T  0.3 9.5
Departure from Normal  -4.9  +3.9  -5.4  -1.5  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  -0.1  -1.0  -2.8 +4.4


 

  Hastings (Municipal Airport)

   January  February  March   April    May   June    July    August September  October  November  December
Average High (F)  44.4  40.7  68.2  67.6  78.9  86.7  94.1  86.0  80.5  62.1 55.2 38.8
Average Low (F)  19.0  20.0  38.5  43.5  53.4  62.4  68.4  60.3  49.7  36.9 27.8 16.7
Average Temperature (F)  31.7  30.3  53.3  55.5  66.1  74.6  81.3  73.1  65.1  49.5 41.5 27.8
Departure from Normal (F) + 5.7  +0.4  +13.4  +4.8  +4.8  +2.8  +4.2  -1.2  -0.5  -3.1 +2.8 +0.2
             
Precipitation (inches)  0.14  1.67  0.86  2.95  4.07  2.35  1.64  2.39  0.59  1.46  0.66 1.69
Departure from Normal  -0.27  +1.18  -0.93  +0.39  -0.50  -1.45  -2.10  -0.91  -1.97  -0.53  -0.63 +1.08
             
Snowfall (inches)  1.7  11.4  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0  0.0 0.0  0.0  T  0.3 10.5
Departure from Normal  -4.3 +4.9 -5.2 -1.2 0.0  0.0 0.0 0.0 -0.2  -1.0  -2.3 +4.4

 


 

 

Into the Record Books:

(Daily, Monthly, Annual Records set at Grand Island and Hastings)    

  


Grand Island         Hastings
January 5:  Record high temperature of 68 degrees.  Previous record 61 degrees set in 1956.   January 9:  Record high temperature of 67 degrees.  Previous record 61degrees set in 1956.
January 30:  Record high temperature of 69 degrees.  Previous record 64 degrees set in 1931.   January 30:  Record high temperature of 69 degrees.  Previous record 64 degrees set in 1931.
February 4:  Record daily snowfall amount of 6.1 inches.  Previous record 5.0 inches set in 2004.   February 3:  Record precipitation amount of 0.78 inch.  Previous record 0.60 in 1990.
March (entire month): Warmest March on record, eclipsing 1910   March (entire month): Warmest March on record, eclipsing 1910
March 16:  Record high temperature of 83 degrees.  Previous record of 80 degrees in 2009.   March 16:  Record high temperature of 80 degrees.  Previous record 79 degrees set in 2009.
March 17:  Record high minimum temperature of 57 degrees.  Previous record of 54 degrees set in 1968.   March 17:  Tied record high temperature of 83 degrees.  Previous record set in 1994.
March 17:  Record high temperature of 84 degrees.  Previous record 81 degrees set in 1994.   April 24:  Record high temperature of 93 degrees.  Previous record 92 degrees set in 1989.
April 1:  Tied record high minimum temperature of 57 degrees.  Previous record of 57 degrees set in 1963.   May 26:  Record high temperature of 100 degrees.  Previous record 97 degrees set in 1912.
April 1:  Tied record high temperature of 88 degrees.  Previous record set in 2003.   May 27:  Record rainfall amount of 1.71 inches.  Previous record 1.56 inches set in 1956.
April 24:  Record high temperature of 96 degrees.  Previous record 94 degrees set in 1989.   August 17:  Record low temperature of 48 degrees.  Previous record 49 degrees set in 1943.
May 4:  Tied record high temperature of 92 degrees.  Previous record 92 degrees set in 1962.
August 19:  Record low temperature of 46 degrees.  Previous record 48 degrees set in 1956 and 1967.
May 5:  Tied record high temperature of 95 degrees.  Previous record 95 degrees set in 1909.   August 25Record precipitation amount of 1.24 inches.  Previous record 0.99 inches set in 1977.
May 26:  Record high temperature of 100 degrees. Previous record 94 degrees set in 1916.   November 21Record high temperature of 72 degrees. Previous record 72 degrees set in 1933.
June 20:  Record high minimum temperature of 74 degrees tied.  Previous record 74 degrees set in 1931.    December 2:  Tied record high temperature of 68 degrees.  Previous record set in 1956.
June 27:  Record high temperature of 107 degrees.  Previous record 105 degrees set in 1931 and 1936.  
July 5:  Record high minimum temperature of 76 degrees.  Previous record of 75 degrees set in 1911.  
August 17:  Tied record low temperature of 45 degrees.  Previous record 45 degrees set in 1943.  

 

September 2:  Tied record high temperature of 101 degrees.  Previous record 101 degrees set in 1929.  
September 4:  Tied record high temperature of 103 degrees.  Previous record 103 degrees sent in 1945.  
October 6:  Record low maximum temperature of 45 degrees.  Previous record 46 degrees set in 2000.  

 

November 21:  Record high temperature of 74 degrees.  Previous record 69 degrees set in 2001.
 
December 2:  Record high temperature of 70 degrees.  Previous record 67 degrees set in 1956.
 
December 19:  Record daily precipitation amount of 1.04 inches.  Previous record 0.71 inch set in 1952.  
Annual 2012: Driest calendar year on record with only 11.55 inches of precipitation, eclipsing previous low of 12.01" in 1940.  

 

WFO Hastings Newsletter:  The Quarterly Hail

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