The new year of 2009 began without any winter storms at all and with significantly above normal temperatures. But then “we” paid the price with a historic March blizzard across much of the area south of Interstate 70. A major winter storm began on the 27th of March and ended by the 28th. More than a foot of snow accumulated across a large part of southwest and south central Kansas with heaviest snowfall in south central Kansas. Nearly all roads were closed for an extended period due to zero visibilities and widespread 10 to 20 foot snow drifts!
Snowfall from the event was heaviest from southeast Clark to Pratt Counties where 28 to 30 inches fell in a 24 hour period. The cooperative observer in Pratt reported 30 inches of snow in 24 hours! The 30 inch snowfall report in Pratt establishes a new 24 hour record for snowfall in Kansas. The previous record was 24 inches that fell at Norcatur on 26 October, 1996. Other unofficial observations included 28 inches 1.3 miles northwest of Pratt and 30 inches west-northwest of Preston. The cooperative observer in Coldwater reported 27 inches of snowfall in the 24 hour period from 7 AM on 27 March to 7 AM on 28 March but with a storm total of 30.5 inches of snow!
True spring-type weather arrived in mid April when several tornadoes were reported in the Kalvesta area doing some damage to a farm followed up in early May by more tornadoes south of Garden City where two persons were injured by flying debris. Additional tornadoes occurred in June, July and August. In our area (see map to the right) there were 36 tornadoes, still well above the yearly average of 15.
Rainfall began in earnest across a large part of the area during the summer months (June, July and August), although some locations still missed out. Temperatures were also below average even though there was an 8 day stretch of 100 degrees and above at many locations.
The fall months of September and October continued the trend of wet and cool conditions, again across the majority of the area. Throughout southwest Kansas there was huge difference in precipitation accumulations for the two months, thanks in part to some big storms in September that dropped copious amounts of rainfall. There was one area in northwest Barber county that recorded over 15 inches of rain during the two month period!
Click on the map for a larger version
Towards the end of the year in early December, Arctic air made an intrusion into western Kansas. There was also a rather significant storm that impacted areas close to Interstate 70 with heavy snow and blizzard conditions. As of the 15th there was still a large snow field (see the satellite image). Even colder air and additional snows moved across western Kansas by end of the month with a raging blizzard impacting almost all of Kansas and surrounding areas, EXCEPT for southwest Kansas!
The image below shows the snow cover as of the 15th of December, 2009.
The Christmas blizzard missed almost all of the southwest Kansas except for areas again near I-70!
December also ended a decade that was very warm. In fact the yearly average temperature for the Decade (2000-2009) was the 2nd warmest ever recorded at Dodge City, this despite December 2009 being the 19th coldest December on record for Dodge City.