Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 - What a year in Kansas weather!!

This has been a very busy year around Kansas. You may not realize the number of records that were established in 2015. It wasn't just record highs, but rainfall, tornadoes, and El Niño all made history.


There were several areas of southwest Kansas that had one of their wettest years in recent history. Official numbers are not in yet, but preliminary numbers indicate that some areas may have picked up 45 inches of moisture. That's almost unheard of for a very dry part of Kansas. They will have a very green spring in 2016.

Historic May rainfall causes some flooding along the Arkansas River
Wichita - 8th wettest May with almost 12 inches of rain
Salina - 4th wettest May with over 8 inches

Tied for 4th most tornadoes in Kansas since 1990.
The count may go higher, but unofficially, 124 tornadoes occurred this year in our state. This number ties with 2004, and is 33 above the annual normal number of tornadoes. You might remember, this comes on the heels of a very slow year with tornadoes in 2014 when only 41 were recorded for the state.
There were 28 tornadoes in April - 5th highest since 1990
63 tornadoes in May - 4th highest since 1990

And who could forget the crazy November that we had with 16 tornadoes. That was the 2nd highest November total since 1990.
November 16th tornadoes in western Kansas
Northwest Kansas set a record for the latest tornado to ever happen (since record keeping began back in the 50s)

I don't ever recall a year where we've been able to carry so many tornadoes live on TV. Our Grainfield camera captured 4 different tornadoes on May 9th, and then it happened to be in the right place at the right time again on November 16th.

And then there was the Nickerson tornado that touched down on July 13th. We had over 300 pictures sent to us. It was a very photogenic storm, and once again, we carried it live on the air thanks to our Hutchinson skycam, located on the fairgrounds. This tornado was visible from 20-30 miles away.

El Niño:
This current El Nino reached an astounding 3.1° Celsius above average in the Pacific. This is a bit warmer than the last strong El Nino that occurred back in 1997-98. It continues to be very strong today, but should be weakening next spring. This is a major contributing factor to the very wet winter we've already had (and will continue to see)

Best wishes for a Happy New Year. We hope you'll stick with us for all of the excitement that Kansas weather will bring in 2016!

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