Kansas State Climatologist Mary Knapp was a featured presenter at the Great Bend Farm and Ranch Show Thursday. She spoke about the current climate trends in the Great Bend area, and offered her insight on what can be expected in the coming months.
“Things are not looking very good,” she said.
Great Bend is currently experiencing an exceptional drought. Since October 1, 2017, the area has received only an accumulated 2 inches of moisture. Under normal conditions, it should already have received 6 to 7 inches, she said.
In addition, this drought is paired with very wide temperature swings, with some record lows. “The colder weather is actually helping,” Knapp said. “The cold is slowing down the emergence of plant growth, so not as much water is needed.”
But, winter won’t last forever, she said, and it may be mid-April before the area begins to see any significant moisture.
Higher than normal temperatures are predicted for spring, increasing the need for more moisture. With the area in a fading La Nina pattern, the extra moisture isn’t likely, either.
Knapp also spoke about the KSU Mesonet, a weather data library that can be accessed by the public on the internet at http://mesonet.k-state.edu/
Historical weather data and soil temperatures measured at stations all over the state can be found.