Kansas City, like most of the U.S., had a cool year, with the city coming in around a degree and a half below average. Temperatures reached as high as 100, late in the Summer, on September 8th, and the coldest reading was -2 on December 24th. It had been 1,047 days since the last reading below zero. There were only 33 days with a high of 90 or greater, compared to 69 in 2012 and 49 in 2011. 31 days were recorded where the high temperature remained below freezing and there were 122 days with lows below freezing. 2 days recorded below zero temperatures.
The year alternated cool and warm periods, and the year began on a warm note, which had started in August 2012 and continued until mid February. This was approximately a 120 day period of warmth, which extended through the first 45 days or so of 2013. The weather pattern flipped at that point and a 100 day cool period began, lasting through early July. A temporary burst of warmth re surged early in the summer, then gave way to a cooler period for mid summer. A second 45 day period of warmth ran from Mid August until early October. This stretch included the year’s hottest temperature, on September 8th. An extended and often sharply colder pattern took hold after that and lasted beyond the year’s end.
Rainfall, or the prolonged lack of rainfall, was the big story in KC for 2013. Although the year finished 4″ below average, which does not sound that bad, that comes on the heels of a very dry 2012 and adds up to nearly a 20″ deficit for the 2010s to date.
KC fell behind right out of the gate in January but made up ground by the end of February. For the remainder of Spring and early summer, KC managed to remain near average, sometimes a little behind and sometimes a little ahead. That changed in the summer. The nightly pattern of recurring thunderstorms which deliver much of the summer rains to KC were largely absent once again. 2012, had them tracking well to the north, while 2013 saw them tracking just…just to the west and south. 50-100 miles in that direction yearly rains were very much above average. Many long dry stretches were the norm for the rest of the year and the city consistently retained a 3-5″ rainfall deficit from that point to the close of the year.
Taking a wider view of the region; here is a look at the average annual rains, departure (or difference) from average and the percent of average rains for 2013.
This chart illustrates how KC has entered a long term dry pattern and shows the cumulative surplus or deficit in rainfall from Jan 1, 2010 to Dec 31, 2013. It is easy to see the downhill slide starting in early 2012 and even though the slide has leveled off, we are still trending downward.
We’ll likely need several years of wet weather to reverse this trend, however oceanic conditions tilt the odds in favor of summertime drought and winter dryness and this may be a pattern which holds several more years.
Most of the weather stories of note revolved around rain and snow. A more or less snow-free winter sharply turned in February with two major storms a week apart. The first dumped these snow totals, with the snow accompanied by thunder and lightning:
The second these totals, also with thunder and lightning:
This graphic shows the snow depth following these two storms:
The year’s final big snow hit on March 23-24, and while not as big as the previous two storms, it was enough to create serious issues due to the heavy and wet snow. Lightning and thunder were again reported.
Here is a look at some of the other weather highlights of 2013:
Heavy rains just miss KC:
Summer makes a late, and powerful, entrance:
Late October’s first freeze:
Typhoon Haiyan helps fuel a change in our weather pattern mid November: