Kansas Drought Information

Summary:

This webpage strives to offer current drought information across the Kansas region, including precipitation departures from normal, agricultrual and hydrological impacts, as well as long-range temperature, precipitation and drought forecasts. Most images throughout this report will update automatically, thus most of the information will remain current.

 

 Current Drought Conditions
 Drought Change from 3-Months Ago

 

6-Week Drought Animation 12-Week Drought Animation

 

Monthly Drought Outlook Seasonal Drought Outlook
 

 


 

  


Past Precipitation Totals and Departures From Normal

(30-Day, 60-Day, 90-Day, 6-Month, 1-Year, 2-Year, 3-Year)

The below images (courtesy of the High Plains Regional Climate Center) represent precipitation totals, departures from normal and percent of normal the past 30, 60, 90 days, the past 6-months, and the past one, two and three years across Kansas. The unit of measure is inches. Precipitation includes rainfall, melted-down snow, sleet, freezing, hail, etc.  For the departures and percent of normal maps, oranges and reds indicate drier conditions, while blues and purples indicate wetter conditions. Click each image to enlarge.


 

Precipitation Past 30-Days
30-Day Departure From Normal 
30-Day % of Normal

 




 

Precipitation Past 60 Days 60-Day Departure From Normal 60-Day % of Normal




Precipitation Past 90 Days
90-Day Departure From Normal
90-Day % of Normal

 





Precipitation Past 6-Months 6-Month Departure From Normal
6-Month % of Normal

 





Precipitation Past 1-Year
1-Year Departure From Normal
1-Year % of Normal

 

Precipitation Past 2-Years 2-Year Departure From Normal 2-Year % of Normal

 

Precipitation Past 3-Years 3-Year Departure From Normal 3-Year % of Normal

 


Comparing Past Droughts

The below graph depicts historical drought severity across Kansas since 1895, using the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI). Widely considered to be an excellent indicator of long-term drought severity, the PDSI uses a comprehensive blend of precipitation, temperature and soil moisture to determine long-term drought severity. Negative values indicate drought conditions, while positive values indicate wet and drought-free conditions. Image courtesy of the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

How does the drought since 2011 compare with past droughts? Drought severity has varied greatly across Kansas and the southern High Plains. Averaged statewide, the off-and-on drought since 2011 has not been as severe as the 1930s and 1950s, mainly due to periodic wet conditions over generally the eastern half of the state. However, the western half of Kansas along with the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas have been much drier on average than eastern portions of Kansas and Oklahoma. Consequently, the drought since 2011 over west/southwest portions of Kansas and the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma is just as severe, if not more severe, than the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and the 1950s.  

KS Historical Droughts (statewide average)
Southwest KS Historical Droughts
Three-year Palmer Drought Severity Index values since 1895 averaged across Kansas. Negative (yellow) values denote drought, positive (green) values denote wet or drought-free conditions. Notice the severe and long-term droughts of the 1930s and '50s. Consensus suggests that the drought since 2011 is the worst since the '50s.
Three-year Palmer Drought Severity Index values since 1895 for southwest Kansas. Negative (yellow) values denote drought, positive (green) values denote wet or drought-free conditions. Consensus suggests that the drought since 2011 across southwest Kansas is just about nearly as severe as the 1930s and 1950s.

 

South-Central KS Historical Droughts Southeast KS Historical Droughts 
   
Three-year Palmer Drought Severity Index values since 1895 for south-central Kansas. Negative (yellow) values denote drought, positive (green) values denote wet or drought-free conditions. Even though periodic severe dry spells have affected south-central Kansas since 2011, there have been enough wet periods to limit the long-term drought fingerprint. Three-year Palmer Drought Severity Index values since 1895 for southeast Kansas. Negative (yellow) values denote drought, positive (green) values denote wet or drought-free conditions. Even though periodic severe dry spells have affected southeast Kansas since 2011, there have been enough wet periods to mitigate the long-term drought fingerprint. 

  

OK Panhandle Historical Droughts  TX Panhandle Historical Droughts 
Three-year Palmer Drought Severity Index values since 1895 for the Oklahoma Panhandle. Negative (yellow) values denote drought, positive (green) values denote wet or drought-free conditions. Consensus suggests that the drought since 2011 across the Oklahoma Panhandle is just about as bad as the 1930s and '50s. Three-year Palmer Drought Severity Index values since 1895 for the Texas Panhandle. Negative (yellow) values denote drought, positive (green) values denote wet or drought-free conditions. Consensus suggests that the drought since 2011 across the Texas Panhandle is as bad or worse as the 1930s and '50s. 

 

Below is another way of graphically depicting severe droughts across the nation since 1900. The images are courtesy of the Western Regional Climate Center. Widely considered to be an excellent indicator of long-term drought severity, the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) is highlighted in each image below. Red indicates very dry conditions, blue indicates very wet conditions. Once again, notice the severe and expansive droughts of the 1930s and '50s. Click each image to enlarge.

  June
July
August
1934      
1936      
1954      
1956      
1988      
2006      
2011      
2012    
2013
Past 3 Months

 

        


Agricultural Impacts

Reports/bulletins issued by the US Department of Agriculture:

For more information on agricultural impacts, please visit the US Department of Agriculture or the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

 

Current Crop Moisture Index (Most Useful Spring-Summer-Fall)
Current Soil Moisture
(Most Useful Spring-Summer-Fall)
Current Soil Moisture Anomalies (Most Useful Spring-Summer-Fall)

KS Vegetation Condition (Current) - Most Useful Spring-Summer-Fall
KS Vegetation Condition (1-Year Ago) - Most Useful Spring-Summer-Fall
 
Current Kansas vegetation health. Green colors indicate healthy vegetation, while orange and red colors indicate unhealthy vegetation. This product is most useful during the spring, summer and fall months. For more information, please visit the Kansas Applied Remote Sensing (KARS) website. Kansas vegetation health one-year ago. Green colors indicate healthy vegetation, while orange and red colors indicate unhealthy vegetation. This product is most useful during the spring, summer and fall months. For more information, please visit the Kansas Applied Remote Sensing (KARS) website.

 


Hydrological Impacts

 

Current Federal Reservoir Levels (Nov 17, 2014)
Current Federal Reservoir levels across Kansas. Reservoirs over generally the eastern half of the state are relatively full, while levels over western Kansas remain low. Image courtesy of the Kansas Water Office.

Kansas Real-Time Streamflow Compared to Normal Kansas Past Week Streamflow Compared to Normal
 
Kansas real-time streamflow compared to normal. Green is near normal, blue above normal, and orange/red are below normal. Kansas past week streamflow compared to normal. Light orange is below normal, and dark orange/red is well below normal.

Historical Kansas Hydrological Droughts
Three-year Palmer Hydrological Drought Index (PHDI) values since 1895 averaged across the state of Kansas. PHDI reflects long-term drought severity associated with streamflow, reservoir and groundwater levels. Negative values denote drought, positive values denote wet or drought-free conditions. Notice the long-term hydrological droughts of the 1930s and '50s. The current off-and-on long-term hydrologic drought since 2011 is the worst since the 1950s. Image courtesy of the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

 


 

Long-Range Outlooks

The below long-range outlook images are courtesy of the Climate Prediction Center (CPC).

  Temperature Precipitation
6-10 Day Outlook
8-14 Day Outlook  
1-Month Outlook
   
3-Month Outlook    

 


Useful Resources

  • To report effects of the drought in your area, please go to the Drought Impact Reporter HERE, and click on "Submit a Report".
  • Drought information for the media can be found HERE.
  • National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) official drought page can be found HERE.
  • United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) Drought Page, including drought/disaster assistance can be found HERE.
  • National Climatic Data Center's (NCDC) drought page can be found HERE.

Please contact us with any questions or comments regarding this drought page, or about drought or climate in general.

Eric Schminke or Andy Kleinsasser

Drought Focal Points

National Weather Service

2142 S. Tyler Rd

Wichita, KS 67209

316-942-8483

eric.schminke@noaa.gov or andy.kleinsasser@noaa.gov

 


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