2014 in Review

Temperatures were below average in 2014 with precipitation below average in the south and above average in the north.

The yearly average temperature in St. Louis was 65.10, the average low 46.40 and the overall average 55.80.  This is 1.3 degrees below average. St. Louis reached 100F August 25 which was the year’s highest temperature and fell to -8 January 8th, the year’s lowest temperature. In Kansas City, the average high was 62.70, the average low 42.40 and the overall average 52.50 which is 2.10 degrees below average.  97F was the warmest temperature of the year on August 23, while -11F on January 6 was the year’s coldest reading. Topeka’s average high was 66, the average low was 43.30 and the overall average 54.70 which was 0.4 degrees below average.  103F on July 22 was the hottest temperature of the year with -8F on January 6th the year’s coldest temperature.

Precipitation was slightly above average in Kansas City and St. Louis and well below average in Topeka.  For a majority of the region, precipitation was below to much below average. The table below summarizes the temperature stats for the three main cities and precipitation for locations in and around the district for 2014:


No location was near the all-time record hottest/coldest or wettest/driest years on record.


Across the globe, central Asia, portions of North and South America, central and southern Africa, Siberia and northern Australia were cooler than average while warmth was concentrated in Europe, north Africa, China, southern Australia, Alaska, and the western United States.


A closer look at North America shows cold concentrated over central and western Canada, the U.S. east of the Rockies and over much of Mexico.  The coldest areas were over the southern Canadian Prairies and northern U.S. Plains and western Great Lakes. Warmth was dominant over the western U.S. and Alaska.


The charts below show the temperature traces for KC/STL for 2014 (in C and click to make them more readable).  The middle section shows the 31-day running mean which evens out some of the daily highs and lows. This chart is good at identifying long term trends throughout the year. Relative to average, cold weather continued from the year’s open to mid April and reached it’s peak in late February. A turn to slightly warmer than average then began and continued until around July 1, when a cool period resumed until mid August.  Warmth resumed mid August to mid September with a short cool period mid September to mid October. Weak warmth resurged mid October to early November.  A strong cooling period took over in November, with the year’s strongest warmth in December.

2014-12-31-2359-KCTEMPTRACE 2014-12-31-2359-STLTEMPTRACE

Compare KC/STL to some cities out west, Seattle (L) and Tucson (R) which were above average or well above average nearly all year.  Tucson AZ had it’s warmest year on record and was only significantly below average right at the end of 2014 for the last week or so.

2014-12-31-2359-SEATEMPTRACE 2014-12-31-2359-TWCTEMPTRACE


Taking a look at the yearly precipitation totals, highest amounts (45″+ pink/purples) were over south central Iowa, north central and NW Missouri, east central Missouri and part of southern Illinois. 35-40″ totals (deep reds) covered the rest of the district, with isolated 30-35″ totals (light reds).  The orange, gold and yellow tones show lower totals (less than 30″) heading westward across Kansas, but it must be remembered that average rain decreases west of the district and toward the rain shadow of the Front Range.


A better way of looking a the area is to use a percent of average map.  This shows areas of relative wetness/dryness across the region.  Much of SE/EC Kansas, Missouri south of I-70 and SW Illinois had sub-par rainfall totals. NW Missouri (including KC), EC Missouri (Including STL) had above average precipitation  with the Ozarks of southern Missouri below to well below average.


Taking a look at the U.S., in general, we find the wettest areas in the southeast and east and in the PACNW as can be expected with the driest areas in the Desert Southwest. The lowest total on the map is an area near Palm Springs, CA where less than 1/2″ of rain fell all year long. Rainfall of 100″+ was recorded in the highest peaks of the PACNW.


Using the percent of average annual precipitation map, it is easy to see the extreme dryness of the year for the western and south central U.S. and the wetness over the northern Rockies, northern Plains, southern and Rockies. Patchy areas of above/below average are located elsewhere. Relative to average, the wettest area was in SE NM/W TX near SE Eddy county, NM and the junction of Culberson, Reeves and Loving counties in TX. This area had 300% (or three times) of it’s average annual precipitation.  Relative to average, the driest location was in the Coachella Valley of California’s Riverside County between Indio and Palm Springs. This area had only 5-10% of its average annual precipitation.


Here’s a zoomed-in look at the western and eastern district’s total 2014 precipitation.  Click on each map to make it more readable.

2014-12-31-2359-KC_PRECIP 2014-12-31-2359-STL_PRECIP

Weather Events:

Winter Storms:

Significant winter storms struck, almost like clockwork at the beginning of each month in Jan, Feb and March. The heaviest snows focused on the eastern district in January, then the west in February and March. In addition to these major events, several minor or smaller events were frequent.

The first winter storm targeted the eastern district with heavy snows Jan 4 & 5:


February 4 and 5 brought the next major winter storm, this time focusing primarily on the western District:


The next major winter storm would strike March 2 & 3 with more sleet than snow over the district:


These storms in addition to snow falling in December, 2013, left the region with above average snowfall for the Winter of 2013-2014.


Here are some of the official season snowfall reports.



Severe Weather:

Damaging tornadoes struck the western district near Orrick MO on may 10th.

2014-05-10-1735 2014-05-10-1738

Thunderstorms with damaging wind impacted the STL area on October 2nd:



Bitterly cold temperatures on January 6th were the coldest of the year.  These maps show the morning temperatures (near lows) on January 6th, 2014. (Click to make them more readable)


Afternoon weather map on one of the hottest afternoons of the year in late July over the western district:


Notes and asides:

Kansas City finished the year with the first above average rainfall total since 2010.


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