By: Andy Kleinsasser
A dry & warm spring, a wet & cool summer, and a dry & warm fall characterized 2005 weather.
Wichita weather during 2005 was characterized by relatively warmer and wetter conditions compared to normal (1971-2000 average). The 2005 average annual temperature at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport was 57.9 degrees, 1.5 degrees above normal. Precipitation totaled 36.71 inches, 6.33 inches above normal. Nearly two-thirds of the precipitation occurred during the months of June through August. 2005 did not break into the top ten rankings for warmest/wettest years on record (records for Wichita date back to July 1, 1888). However, it was the warmest year recorded since 2001, and nine out of twelve months averaged warmer than normal. Even though 2005 was a relatively wet year, 2004 recorded a smidgen more at 37.80 inches.The year started out wetter and warmer than normal, with January and February recording above normal temperatures and precipitation. Two record highs were set in January: 66 degrees on New Year’s Day, and 67 degrees on the 25th. January precipitation totaled 3.18 inches, with over half of that recorded within the first four days of the month. February temperatures averaged an impressive 4.5 degrees above normal, but no records were set. Like January and February, the months of March through May were characterized by continued above normal temperatures. However, unlike the relatively moist start to the year, the spring months were much drier than normal. The period from March through May was 9th driest on record, recording only 4.71 inches. A record low temperature of 33 degrees was set on May 2nd, while a record high minimum of 71 degrees was set on May 22nd. The summer months (June-August) were characterized by primarily below normal temperatures and MUCH above normal precipitation. An amazing 23.61 inch total set the all-time wettest summer on record (the old record of 23.32 inches occurred in 1950). An unprecedented 11.96 inches occurred in August, shattering the August precipitation record as well (the old record of 8.50 inches occurred in 1933). July and especially June were also well above normal, but did not break any precipitation records. Due to above normal precipitation, a few record cool temperatures were set: record lows of 58, 56 degrees on the mornings of July 27th, 28th, respectively; record low maximums of 68, 73 on August 14th, 15th, respectively. After such a wet summer, there was talk that Wichita would record one of its wettest years on record. However, an abnormally dry fall squelched those speculations. September through November precipitation totaled a measly 2.80 inches, a 4.43 inch deficit. November precipitation measured only 0.02 inches, becoming the 8th driest November on record for Wichita. Relatively dry conditions resulted in much above normal temperatures. A record high of 89 degrees was set on October 18th, and 72 degrees on November 23rd. Record high minimums of 73 and 71 were set on October 3rd and 4th, respectively, and 54 degrees on November 8th. The highlight for December was the 7.6 inches of snow, becoming the 8th snowiest December on record. However, total precipitation still was below normal. After a bitter cold start to the month, temperatures rebounded drastically, leaving the month just slightly below normal in the temperature department.