Is This the Worst Drought Ever?

Drought Beginning to Take Hold 

Since the beginning of May, northeast Kansas has quickly dried out with little precipitation and temperatures in the upper 90s and lower 100s.  Many areas have started to see drought conditions becoming more intense.  If the hot and dry weather persist for a prolonged period of time, the drought will likely become more severe.  But this isn't the worst drought we've had to deal with.  Precipitation amounts for Topeka have been near or above normal for the previous 5 years and the drought conditions are just beginning to set in during the last several months.  Below are the Palmer Drought indices for June of this year and past Junes during extraordinary droughts of the past.

               June 1936                                   June 1956                                  June 2012

Palmer Drought Index for June 1934Palmer Drought Index for June 1956Palmer Drought Index for June 2012

** Click on image for a larger version **

With the first two thirds of July already gone by with below normal precipitation, the drought conditions are likely to be worse for July then there were in June.  However the current drought still has a ways to go to compare with the ones from the 1930s and 1950s.  

Temperature Statistics At Topeka Since 1887

Rank 4/1 - 7/15
Average High
Year   4/1 - 7/15
Average Low
Year   4/1 - 7/15
Average Temp
Year
1 85.3 1934   59.8 2012   72.5 2012
2 85.1 2012   59.5 1934   72.4 1934
3 83.4 1936   59.5 1977   70.5 1936
4 81.4 1933   59.5 1991   70.0 1977
5 81.4 1939   59.2 1896   69.9 1991

Temperature Statistics At Concordia Since 1885

Rank 4/1 - 7/15
Average High
Year   4/1 - 7/15
Average Low
Year   4/1 - 7/15
Average Temp
Year
1 84.5 1934   59.7 1934   72.1 1934
2 83.5 2012   57.7 1991   70.3 2012
3 81.2 2006   57.7 1925   69.0 1991
4 80.9 1988   57.6 1977   68.9 1925
5 80.8 1913   57.5 1955   68.7 1936
NOTE:  2012 Ranks 9th in Average Low Temperature at 57.1 degrees.

2012 Temperature Statistics For Area Cities

City 4/1 - 7/15
Average High
  4/1 - 7/15
Average Low
  4/1 - 7/15
Average Temp
  4/1 - 7/15
Precipitation
  4/1 - 7/15
% Of Normal Precip
Topeka 85.3   59.8   72.5   8.11"   56 %
Concordia 83.5   57.1   70.3   10.08"   81%
Manhattan 84.7   57.6   71.1   8.15"   About 59 %
Lawrence 84.8   57.3   71.0   7.33"   About 50 %
Emporia 84.2   58.6   71.7   5.82   About 40 %

 

90 Day (4/17 - 7/16) Precipitation - Percentage of Normal


**Click on the image to see the latest precipitation stats in your area**

This image above shows much of Kansas has received only 25 to 50 percent of normal precipitation from April 17 through July 16.  

Precipitation Statistics At Topeka Since 1887

Rank 4/1 - 7/19
Lowest Precipitation Amounts
Year
1 5.50 1901
2 5.73 1911
3 6.49 1937
4 6.82 1980
5 7.20 1906
6 8.40 2012

 

 



Return to News Archive

USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.