What Happened to Winter in Northwest Kansas?

Despite a cold start to the 2005-2006 winter season,  unusual warmth has overspread northwest Kansas.  Temperatures have averaged above normal over the majority of December and this trend has also continued in January, resulting in northwest Kansas seeing temperatures more similar to spring than winter.

Since December 1st, Goodland Kansas has recorded fourteen days where the high temperature climbed into the 50s, thirteen days of high temperatures reaching into the 60s and one day where the high climbed to 70 degrees.  On average there are seven days where high temperatures climb to at least 60 degrees, and one day of 70 degree plus temperatures.

Normal high temperatures in December range from 44 degrees on the 1st to 39 degrees on the 31st with normal low temperatures ranging from 21 degrees on the 1st to 16 on the 31st.  In January, normal high temperatures are around 40 degrees with normal lows in the teens.

January ended up with an average temperature of 38.6 degrees F.  This is the second warmest January in Goodland since records begain in 1896.  The warmest January on record occurred back in 1986 with an average temperature of 38.8 degrees F.  Below is a table containing the top ten warmest Januarys on record:

Rank

Temperature (in F)

Year

1

38.8

1986

2

38.6

2006

3

36.9

1934

4

36.8

1935

5

36.5

1953

6

36.0

1923

7

35.8

1939

8

35.1

1933

9

35.0

1928

10

35.0

1896

The graph below depicts the variability of January temperatures at Goodland Kansas since records began in 1896:

Goodland January Temps 

Through January, the average winter temperature is 34.3 degrees F, which enters into the top ten warmest winters on record.  Meteorological winter is defined as the months of December through February so there is still a month left of winter.  This can significantly affect whether the 2005-2006 winter season goes down as one of the warmest winters in Goodland’s history.  Below is a table depicting the top ten warmest winters:

Rank

Temperature (in F)

Year

1

37.5

1933-34

2

36.0

1934-35

3

35.9

1975-76

4

34.7

1991-92

5

34.7

1930-31

6

34.6

1925-26

7

34.3

2005-2006*

8

34.1

1942-43

9

34.0

1920-21

10

33.9

1986-87

 *Winter 2005-2006 average temperature is subject to change

The graph below depicts the variability of winter temperatures at Goodland Kansas since 1915:

 CLK 1/31/06



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