September 2022 Climate Summary

September 2022 Climate Summary

Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming, Photo Courtesy of Gannon Rush

Warm and Dry Start to Fall

The first month of meteorological fall was disappointing for much of the region. Instead of bringing cooler temperatures and much-needed moisture, the trend of warm and dry conditions, unfortunately, dominated the region. The dryness that had been limited to Kansas and Nebraska spread into the Dakotas. Drought conditions rapidly spread across North Dakota in response to minimal precipitation.

Among the more interesting impacts of the drought this year occurred outside of Hays, Kansas. The nearby Ellis City Lake declared a public fish salvage in response to the extremely low water levels. With levels dangerously low, the fish are in danger of using oxygen too quickly. All catch limits and size rules on fish within the lake are removed, with any means of catch acceptable. The state of Kansas fears all the fish will die, resulting in them having to completely restart the aquatic population.

The dire situation in southeastern Kansas led to serious consequences for one town. The town of Caney declared a water emergency in mid-September in response to low well levels. Water usage for outdoor purposes is banned, with the potential for citations or disconnections for residents. This part of Kansas rapidly dried out in the summer months, with September offering no relief.

Above: Departure from 1991-2020 normal temperature (left) and percent of normal precipitation (right) for September 2022 in the High Plains region. Maps
produced by the High Plains Regional Climate Center and are available at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current

Precipitation

Much of the High Plains was dry in September, with the majority of the Dakotas receiving less than an inch of precipitation. Drought-stricken areas in the western parts of Kansas and Nebraska received some precipitation, but not nearly enough to improve drought conditions.

After observing near-normal to above-normal precipitation for much of this year, North Dakota was nearly bone-dry in September. Dickinson observed their driest September on record, with a paltry 0.07 inches (1.78 mm) of precipitation. In South Dakota, Sisseton fared slightly better with 0.08 inches (2.03 mm) to rank 2nd driest. Aberdeen and Pierre recorded less than 0.15 inches (3.81 mm) in September to rank in the top 10 driest.

Looking further back, many locations in Kansas and Nebraska currently rank in the top 10 driest year-to-date. Arguably the driest place in the region is Garden City, Kansas. Only 5.01 inches (12.73 cm) of precipitation has fallen this year, nearly 2 inches (5.08 cm) below the previous record. In southwestern Nebraska, several locations are in the midst of their driest year-to-date. Most notably is Ogallala, which is the site of Lake McConaughy. Through the end of September, only a meager 5.74 inches (14.58 cm) of precipitation has been observed, well below the normal of 17.29 inches (43.92 cm).

Above: Total precipitation in inches (top) and departure from normal
precipitation in inches (bottom) for September 2022. These maps are produced by HPRCC and can be found on the Current Climate Summary
Maps page at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current

Streamflow Update

Outside the areas impacted by drought, streamflow throughout the region was generally in good shape. Flooding continues along the James River in South Dakota resulted from heavy precipitation in previous months. Conditions in southwestern Nebraska and western Kansas continued to be much below normal. August runoff north of Sioux City was 62% of normal due to the long-term effects of drought.

Temperatures

September temperatures were well above-normal across the region, with numerous locations ranking in the top 10 warmest months on record. Much of the region experienced 2 to 4 degrees F (1.1 to 2.2 degrees C) above normal, while small areas of 6 to 8 degrees F (3.3 to 4.4 degrees C) above normal temperatures were also present.

The warmest areas in the region have been eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska for the past few months. This area experienced record to near-record warmth this summer, with the trend continuing into the beginning of fall. In Wyoming, Cheyenne, Laramie, and Rawlins all ranked 2nd warmest. While in Nebraska, Scottsbluff ranked 2nd, and Chadron Station Spotlight: Chadron, Nebraska Above: Daily temperatures for September 2022, along with extremes and normals values in Chadron, Nebraska. was the warmest on record with an average temperature of 67.7 degrees F (19.8 degrees C).

Colorado was also extremely warm this past month as well. Alamosa averaged 59.9 degrees F (15.5 degrees C) to rank warmest, while Denver ranked 3rd. Other locations such as Grand Junction, Pueblo, and Colorado Springs, also ranked in the top 5.

Above: Daily temperatures for September 2022, along with extremes and
normals values in Chadron, Nebraska.

Drought Conditions

Drought not only re-appeared but rapidly spread across North Dakota after a very dry month. Outside of areas in Colorado and Wyoming, there were minimal improvements. Overall, there was a 16 percent increase in moderate to exceptional (D1-D4) this September. At the beginning of September, less than 1 percent of North Dakota was under drought conditions. By the end of the month, 72 percent of the state was experiencing drought. The lack of precipitation in the state in the past 60 days prompted the rapid expansion. Western Kansas has been the epicenter of the drought for most of the year for the state, but the southern part of the state has rapidly deteriorated in recent months. Currently, 25 percent of the state is in exceptional drought (D4). Elsewhere in the region, other improvements and degradation were observed. According to the Climate Prediction Center’s U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook for October, drought development is likely across parts of Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced as a joint effort of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Drought Mitigation
Center, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For current Drought Monitor
information, please see: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Climate Outlooks

According to the Climate Prediction Center, La Niña conditions are likely to continue through the end of the year. A La Niña advisory is currently in effect. For more information, visit  https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf 

The National Weather Service’s long-range flood outlook indicates a low probability of Minor Flooding in eastern Kansas through December. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), fire potential will be limited across the region through next year.

The seasonal temperature and precipitation outlook presented below combine the effects of long-term trends, soil moisture, and when applicable, the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). To learn more about these outlooks, please visit http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.  

Temperature

The three-month temperature outlook shows an increased chance of above-normal temperatures across the majority of the United States. Equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal are present in the Dakotas, otherwise, above-normal temperatures are favored.

Precipitation

The outlook for the next three months indicates below-normal precipitation across central parts of the United States. Across the High Plains, there are equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal precipitation in the Dakotas and northern Wyoming. The rest of the region has increased chances of below-normal precipitation.

Drought

The U.S Seasonal Drought Outlook released on September 30th indicates drought conditions are expected to develop in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota.  

Station Summaries: By the Number

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July 2022 Climate Summary

July 2022 Climate Summary

Silage Harvest in Kansas, Photo Courtesy of Gannon Rush

Hot and Dry Conditions Continue into July

The hot and dry conditions that started at the end of June carried over into July. Temperatures were well above normal for much of the month before finally cooling off. While precipitation was spotty, the amounts were plentiful in areas that received it.


The ongoing drought has taken its toll on agricultural conditions, particularly in Kansas and Nebraska. Corn was rated 33 percent and 22 percent poor to very poor, respectively. Farmers in western Kansas have started filing for crop insurance due to poor expected yields. Sorghum is a fairly drought-resistant crop, however, over 30 percent is rated poor to very poor in both states. Pasture and range conditions are also struggling, with over 30 percent rated very poor in both states. With a lack of feed, there has been a surge in cattle sell-offs.


Temperatures this month were excruciatingly hot, with several locations in the southern part of the region breaking all-time average temperature records. The following stations all have data going back to the 1800s. In Colorado, Castle Rock and Fort Collins surpassed their records on the 19th, while Fort Morgan did so on the 2nd. Scottsbluff, Nebraska broke its record on the 18th and Dodge
City had an average temperature of 94.5 degrees (34.7 degrees C) on the 15th to tie the record.

Above: Departure from 1991-2020 normal temperature (left) and percent of normal precipitation (right) for July 2022 in the High Plains region. Maps
produced by the High Plains Regional Climate Center and are available at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current

Precipitation

Precipitation across the region was sporadic this month, however, locations that did receive rainfall in July were well above-normal. Drought-afflicted areas such as southwestern Nebraska and western Kansas continued to be below normal.


Precipitation was plentiful in the northern parts of the region, with several locations ranking in the top 10 wettest Julys. Huron, South Dakota, received 6.52 inches (16.56 cm) ranking 2nd wettest, while Dickinson,
North Dakota, recorded 4.39 inches (11.15 cm) to place 4th. The southwest monsoon brought much-needed precipitation, with 5.35 inches (13.59 cm) observed in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to rank 5th wettest.


It was a relatively quiet month for severe storms for the region, aside from another derecho in South Dakota on the 5th of July. Much of the precipitation in Huron occurred from this storm, with 5 inches (12.7 cm) re- ported by a nearby CoCoRaHS observer. Notable impacts included a 99 mph (159 km/h) wind gust near Howard and the presence of ominous green skies over Sioux Falls.

Above: Total precipitation in inches (top) and departure from normal
precipitation in inches (bottom) for July 2022. These maps are produced by HPRCC and can be found on the Current Climate Summary
Maps page at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current

Streamflow Update

Streamflow throughout the region was generally in good shape. Heavy precipitation led conditions in northeastern South Dakota and eastern North Dakota to have much above normal streamflow with some flooding expected. Conditions in southwestern Nebraska and western Kansas continued to be much below normal. Annual runoff above Sioux City is 80% percent of normal due to the long-term effects of drought.

Temperatures

The trend of above-normal temperatures continued into July. Much of the region experienced temperatures 2 to 4 degrees F (1.1 and 2.2 degrees C) above normal. Temperatures were scorching hot throughout most of July, with relief finally coming towards the end of the month.  

Once again, western Kansas experienced the warmest temperatures throughout the region. Many days were well above 100 degrees (56 degrees C), with a station near Ashland recording 20 days above 100 degrees F. In central South Dakota, temperatures reached an incredible 114 degrees F (63 degrees C) on the 18th.   

Along the front range of the Rockies, Denver recorded its 2nd warmest July and the 2nd warmest month on record. The average temperature in July was 78 degrees F (43 degrees C). Nearby Cheyenne, Wyoming, observed their 4th warmest July on record with an average temperature of 73.4 degrees F (40.8 degrees C). This also ranked as the 4th warmest month on record. 

Above: Daily temperatures for July 2022, along with extremes and
normals values in Ashland, Kansas.

Drought Conditions

Warm and dry conditions throughout much of the month led to the intensification of drought conditions in the southern part of the region. Overall, there was a 3 percent increase in moderate to exceptional (D1-D4) drought in July. North Dakota continues to remain drought-free. 

Numerous days of extreme heat and a lack of precipitation led to a significant increase in drought conditions across western Kansas. Most notably, D4 increased 7 percent by the end of July and 25 percent of the state is experiencing extreme to exceptional (D3-D4) drought. Nebraska and Wyoming also experienced intensification, with D3 conditions increasing 5 and 3 percent, respectively. Drought conditions did improve in the southwestern parts of Colorado, however, they deteriorated along the Front Range. Elsewhere in the region, other improvements and degradation were observed. According to the Climate Prediction Center’s U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook for August, drought improvement is likely across much of Colorado, western Kansas, and southern Wyoming, while development is likely in eastern Nebraska. 

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced as a joint effort of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Drought Mitigation
Center, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For current Drought Monitor
information, please see: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Climate Outlooks

According to the Climate Prediction Center, La Niña conditions are likely to continue through the end of the year. A La Niña advisory is currently in effect. For more information, visit  https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf 

The National Weather Service’s long-range flood outlook indicates a high chance of Major Flooding in northeastern South Dakota through September. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), fire potential will be limited to western Nebraska, western South Dakota, and eastern Wyoming through November.  

The seasonal temperature and precipitation outlook presented below combine the effects of long-term trends, soil moisture, and when applicable, the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). To learn more about these outlooks, please visit http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.  

Temperature

The three-month temperature outlook shows an increased chance of above-normal temperatures across the majority of the United States. Equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal are present in North Dakota and northern South Dakota, otherwise, above-normal temperatures are favored. 

Precipitation

The outlook for the next three months indicates below-normal precipitation across central parts of the United States. Across the High Plains there are equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal precipitation in North Dakota. The rest of the region has increased chances of below-normal precipitation. 

Drought

The U.S Seasonal Drought Outlook released on June 30th indicates drought conditions are expected to improve in Colorado and southern Wyoming. Opposite of this, drought development is likely in parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.   

Station Summaries: By the Number

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June 2022 Climate Summary

June 2022 Climate Summary

Grand Teton National Park, Photo Courtesy of Rezaul Mahmood

Warm and Dry Conditions Prevailed

Summer-like conditions took hold in the High Plains towards the middle of the month, with above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation across the region. Drought conditions initially were improving towards the beginning of the month due to cool temperatures and above-normal precipitation, however, the prevailing hot and dry conditions led to intensification at the end of the month.


Temperatures were extremely hot in western Kansas this month, which led to many cattle deaths. A rapid increase in temperatures from 80 degrees F (26.7 degrees C) on the 9th to 104 degrees F (40 degrees C) on the 11th led over 2,000 cattle to perish. This extreme swing combined with other factors such as high
overnight temperatures and minimal wind did not give time for cattle to adjust to conditions or to cool off.


Hailstorms were an issue for Nebraska this month, with the state having several destructive storms early in the month. Crops have been ravaged by the storms, while millions of dollars in damage has been caused to homes and vehicles. Two towns in the central part of the state have nearly 90 to 100 percent of homes significantly damaged. The most damaging storm was on the 14th when 115 mph (185 km/h) wind-driven hail of 1 to 3 inches impacted cities across the eastern portions of the state.


Heavy precipitation in northern Wyoming and the rapid melting of snowpack led to record flooding in Yellowstone National Park. Bridges and roads were washed out, while several homes were swept away by the waters. The
damage caused the park to close for over a week, with only the southern entrances reopened by the end of the month.

Above: Departure from 1991-2020 normal temperature (left) and percent of normal precipitation (right) for June 2022 in the High Plains region. Maps
produced by the High Plains Regional Climate Center and are available at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current

Precipitation

June precipitation was well below-normal for many
parts of the region, most notably in Wyoming and western Nebraska. Contrary to this, the Southwest monsoon season began early this year, with much-needed precipitation in the southern and western parts of Colorado.


Much of Wyoming received less than an inch (25.4 mm)
of precipitation this month, with the central part of the state nearly bone dry. Lander recorded trace amounts of precipitation which ties both 1956 and 1971 for driest on record. Nearby, Casper received 0.21 inches (5.34 mm) to rank 7th driest. This dryness stretched into western Nebraska, with North Platte and Chadron ranking 2nd and 3rd driest, after 0.43 and 0.84 inches (10.92 and 21.34 mm) of precipitation, respectively.


Precipitation in South Dakota was mixed, with both the top 10 driest and wettest months recorded in the state. In the northeastern part of the state, Sisseton and Aberdeen ranked 4th and 6th driest, respectively. In the central part of the state, however, Pierre observed their 6th wettest June on
record, with 6.34 inches (16.10 cm) of precipitation.


Severe weather was near normal to slightly above average for the region in terms of warnings issued by the National Weather Service. Large hail was observed on numerous days across the region, with several days having reports of 4-inch (10.16 cm) plus diameter hail. A dangerous storm in Nebraska on the 11th dropped extremely large hailstones in the 5-inch (12.7 cm) range.

Above: Total precipitation in inches (top) and departure from normal
precipitation in inches (bottom) for June 2022. These maps are produced by HPRCC and can be found on the Current Climate Summary
Maps page at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current

Streamflow Update

Upper Missouri River Basin mountain snowpack completely melted in June. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Missouri River Water Management Division announced that they will increase the navigation flow level, with the releases from Gavins Point being adjusted. Streamflows in drought-afflicted areas such
as western Kansas and Nebraska were near record lows. However, streamflows fared much better in North Dakota and the eastern portions of South Dakota and Kansas, where precipitation has been more plentiful.

Temperatures

June was warm for much of the region, with several locations observing their top 10 warmest months on record. This was particularly noticeable during
the middle of the month when numerous temperature records were broken across the region. Towards the beginning of the month, several daily low records were broken in the western part of the region.

Temperatures were well above normal in eastern South Dakota this past month. Sisseton recorded its 3rd warmest month with temperatures averaging 73.6 degrees F (23. 1 degrees C), while Sioux Falls ranked 10th with an average temperature of 72.5 degrees F (22.5 degrees C). In western Nebraska, McCook and North Platte ranked in the top 10 with numerous warm days.


The heat wave in the middle of the month led to scorching hot temperatures. Atwood, Kansas observed a high temperature of 111 degrees F (43.9 degrees C) while McCook, Nebraska recorded a high of 109 degrees F (42.8 degrees C) on the 14th. Several locations in western Kansas observed over ten days of 100-degree F (37.8 degrees C) plus temperatures.

Above: Daily temperatures for June 2022, along with extremes and
normals values in Sisseton, South Dakota.

Drought Conditions

A wet start to the month led to improvements, however, dry and windy conditions prevailed towards the end. The High Plains region observed a 6 percent decrease in moderate to exceptional (D1-D4) drought in June.
North Dakota remained drought-free the entire month.


The monsoon season began in the southwest towards
the end of the month, leading to improvements in Colorado. Severe drought (D2) was reduced by 12 percent due to this beneficial precipitation. South Dakota and Wyoming observed a 25 percent reduction to D1 after
receiving above-normal precipitation. Conditions improved slightly in southwestern Kansas, however, D4 remained entrenched in the area. A large swath of extreme drought (D3) was introduced at the end of the month along the Colorado and Nebraska border. Elsewhere in the region, other improvements and degradation were observed. According to the Climate Prediction Center’s U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook for July, drought conditions are likely to develop in parts of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced as a joint effort of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Drought Mitigation
Center, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For current Drought Monitor
information, please see: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Climate Outlooks

According to the Climate Prediction Center, La Niña conditions are likely to continue through the end of the year. A La Niña advisory is currently in effect. For more information, visit https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_ monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf


The National Weather Service’s long-range flood outlook through July indicates a high chance of Major Flooding in northeastern South Dakota through August. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), fire potential will be limited through October.


The seasonal temperature and precipitation outlooks presented below combine the effects of long-term trends,
soil moisture, and when applicable, the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle (ENSO). To learn more about these
outlooks, please visit http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.

Temperature

The three-month temperature outlook shows an increased chance of above-normal temperatures across the majority of the United States. The entire High Plains region has increased chances of above-normal temperatures, with Colorado notably favored.

Precipitation

The outlook for the next three months indicates below-normal precipitation across central parts of the United States. Across the High Plains there are equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal precipitation in Colorado and Wyoming. The rest of the region has increased chances of below-normal precipitation.

Drought

The U.S Seasonal Drought Outlook released on June 30th indicates drought conditions are expected to remain with development likely in parts of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Station Summaries: By the Number

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May 2022 Climate Summary

May 2022 Climate Summary

Struggling Kansas Winter Wheat, Photo Courtesy of Gerry Tally

Drought Finally Began to Improve

May ended on a high note for many places in the High Plains, with much-needed precipitation arriving.

Another derecho impacted the region on the 12th of May, with 67 reports of 75+ mph (121 km/h). This surpassed the event on December 15th of last year and broke the record for the most significant wind gusts in one day. Notable impacts include a 105 mph (169 km/h) wind gust recorded near Tripp, South Dakota and 13 tornadoes in the state. Unfortunately, there were three deaths from this event.

On the same day, a very rare haboob crossed through Nebraska and South Dakota. Haboobs are walls of dust in front of thunderstorms resulting from high downdraft speeds. This led to low visibility and near blackout conditions. A state of emergency was declared in South Dakota to help those impacted by the storms. Despite temperatures near normal for the region, an unseasonable heat wave led to many broken daily records. Between May 8th and 14th, 267 high maximum temperature and 453 high minimum temperature records were broken, for a total of 720 records (minimum of 30 years of data). Every state recorded at least one record, with Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska primarily impacted

Above: Departure from 1991-2020 normal temperature and percent of normal precipitation for May 2022 in the High Plains region. Maps
produced by the High Plains Regional Climate Center and are available at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current .

Precipitation

Precipitation for the region was mixed. Some parts of the region such as eastern Kansas were well above-normal, while areas such as southwest South Dakota were well below-normal. Several locations in Kansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota observed their top 10 wettest months on record.

Eastern Kansas was extremely wet in May, with multiple rounds of storms occurring. Wichita observed its 2nd wettest month on record, with 12.95 inches (32.89 cm) of precipitation. Topeka observed their 3rd wettest, and Salina recorded their 4th wettest month on record, with 11.68 and 8.72 inches (29.67 cm and 22.15 cm), respectively. In North Dakota, Williston and Grand Forks observed the 3rd and 5th wettest on record. Aberdeen, South Dakota also ranked in the top 10 wettest. Back-to-back months of above-normal precipitation have led to serious flooding issues along the Red River in North Dakota.  Near the Canadian border, river levels crested at 52.27 feet (15.93 meters) on May 8th. This was well above the flood stage of 39 feet (11.89 meters) for that location. The flooding and heavy precipitation have led to significant issues for agriculture, with planting well behind the normal schedule.

Overall, severe weather was less active than normal throughout the region, except for South Dakota. During May, there were 108 more than the average (2002-2022) severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings issued in South Dakota. In contrast, Kansas was 155 warnings below the average for May. There were numerous reports of large hail this month, but a storm on the 29th was particularly dangerous. In central Nebraska, a storm over Loup County had several reports of 5-inch (12.7 cm) hail with unconfirmed reports of hailstones in the 6-inch (15.24 cm) range.

Above: Total precipitation in inches (top) and departure from normal
precipitation in inches (bottom) for May 2022. These maps are produced by HPRCC and can be found on the Current Climate Summary
Maps page at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current.

Snowpack Update

Upper Missouri River Basin mountains began to melt in May. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as of May 30, Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) above Fort Peck Reservoir is currently at 8.1 inches (20.57 cm) which is 60% of the average (1981-2010). The reach between Fort Peck and Garrison Reservoirs is currently 9.0 inches (22.86 cm) which is 67% of the average (1981-2010). SWE was near or above median in most Wyoming basins. In Colorado, SWE was nearly melted in the southwest.

Temperatures

Temperatures for the month of May were near-normal throughout the region, with pockets of below-normal observed in Wyoming. Despite the near-normal temperatures, there were large swings present during the month. Hundreds of daily high and low temperatures were broken during the heat wave in Mid-May.  Every state in the region broke either a high maximum temperature or high minimum temperature. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Wyoming broke 73 low maximum or low minimum temperature records during this period.

Below-normal temperatures in Wyoming led to one location ranking in the top 10 coldest on record. The city of Casper observed their 8th coldest month on record, with an average temperature of 48.3 degrees F (9.1 degrees C). Several other locations in Wyoming came close to being in the top 10 due to the cooler temperatures this month.

The near normal to cooler than normal temperatures have also been beneficial in the prevention of intensifying drought conditions. Many areas in eastern Wyoming and southwestern South Dakota observed well below normal precipitation this month, however, the temperatures helped prevent a significant expansion of drought conditions.

Above: Daily temperatures for May 2022, along with extremes and
normals values in Casper, Wyoming.

Drought Conditions

Across the region, drought conditions improved in May as a result of beneficial precipitation. The High Plains region observed a 14 percent decrease in severe to exceptional (D2-D4) drought, there was also a 10 percent increase in areas that are not in any drought or abnormally dry conditions.

After back-to-back months of well above-normal precipitation, North Dakota is now drought-free. Currently, only 12 percent of the state is in abnormally dry (D0) conditions. Conditions in South Dakota and Wyoming also improved significantly, with extreme drought (D3) and D2 reduced by 30 and 36 percent, respectively. While eastern Kansas is nearly free of drought, the western part of the state observed a 12 percent increase in D3 and D4 conditions. Colorado also recorded an 11 percent increase in D3-D4 conditions. Elsewhere in the region, other improvements and degradation were observed. According to the Climate Prediction Center’s U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook for June, improvements in drought conditions are likely across South Dakota, northern Wyoming, eastern Nebraska, and central Kansas.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced as a joint effort of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Drought Mitigation
Center, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For current Drought Monitor
information, please see: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Climate Outlooks

According to the Climate Prediction Center, La Niña conditions are likely to continue into the summer. A La Niña advisory is currently in effect. For more information, visit  https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

The National Weather Service’s long-range flood outlook through August indicates a high chance of minor flooding across eastern South Dakota and the lower basin in June. This will decrease over the next three months. There is a high risk of Major Flooding in northeastern South Dakota. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), fire potential will be limited in June but expand across the entire region in July and August.

The seasonal temperature and precipitation outlook presented below combine the effects of long-term trends, soil moisture, and when applicable, the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle (ENSO). To learn more about these outlooks, please visit http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

Temperature

The three-month temperature outlook shows an increased chance of above-normal temperatures across the majority of the United States. In the High Plains, North Dakota has equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal temperatures. Meanwhile, the rest of the region has increased chances of above-normal temperatures with Colorado heavily favored.

Precipitation

The outlook for the next three months indicates below-normal precipitation across the majority of the western United States. Across the High Plains there are equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal precipitation in eastern North Dakota and northeastern South Dakota. The rest of the region has increased chances of below-normal precipitation.

Drought

The U.S Seasonal Drought Outlook released on May 31st indicates drought conditions are expected to remain with development likely in eastern Nebraska, central Colorado, and eastern Wyoming.

Station Summaries: By the Number

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April 2022 Climate Summary

April 2022 Climate Summary

Kansas Winter Wheat Field, Photo Courtesy of Gannon Rush

Drought in the Southern Plains and Blizzards in the North

April was the ‘tale of two cities’ in the High Plains. Grand Forks, North Dakota was among the wettest and coldest on record, while Colorado Springs, Colorado was among the warmest and driest on record. The northern states experienced well below normal temperatures and multiple blizzards, while the southern states remained dry and dealt with wildfires.


Several blizzards tracked through North Dakota during the month, including the historic blizzard from April 12th to 14th. The heavy snowfall combined with gusts up to 60 mph (96.56 km/h) led to drifts up to 8 feet tall. Among the highest snowfall amounts was a report of 36.0 inches (91.44 cm) outside of Minot. The highest verified amount was 29.5 inches (74.93 cm) outside Dunn Center. With such high winds, it is hard to accurately measure snowfall. Another blizzard struck the same areas late in the month, with snowfall up to 18.0 inches (45.72 cm).


Wildfires were an issue in the southern portion of the region, particularly in Nebraska. Two large fires broke out during the month, which led to two deaths and several towns to be evacuated. The first fire broke out near Arapahoe, with nearly 35,000 acres burned over several days. Later in the month, another fire broke out nearby which burned over 44,000 acres. Several other fires occurred in Colorado during the month, particularly in areas that were extremely dry this month.


Another interesting impact of the ongoing drought was the reduction of hunting permits available for pronghorn and mule deer in Wyoming. Due to the dryness, food sources of these animals are impacted. As a result, permits were reduced to conserve populations this year. Animal populations were already low from the previous year, with the mule deer population only 61 percent of the statewide goal.

Above: Departure from 1991-2020 normal temperature and percent of normal precipitation for April 2022 in the High Plains region. Maps
produced by the High Plains Regional Climate Center and are available at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current .

Precipitation

Precipitation for the High Plains in March was sharply divided. The northern part of the region was above to well above-normal, while the southern parts were below-normal. Several locations in North Dakota were among the wettest on record, in contrast to multiple places in the southern portions ranking among the driest. The above-normal precipitation in North Dakota helped improve drought conditions, while the dryness in the south only exacerbated drought conditions.

Several blizzards in North Dakota led both Fargo and Grand Forks to rank as their second wettest April on record. Both locations observed over 5 inches (12.70 cm) of precipitation for the month. Bismarck recorded their snowiest April on record with 21.9 inches (55.63 cm) of snow falling while also ranking 10th wettest. Along the front range of the Rockies, conditions were dry. In Colorado, Akron and Colorado Springs both observed their driest month on record with minimal precipitation falling. Several locations with eastern Wyoming, western Kansas, and western Nebraska also ranked among the driest Aprils on record.


It was an active month for severe weather across the region, with multiple days of severe weather. Most notably on the 29th, several storms impacted Kansas and Nebraska. Both Kansas and Nebraska reported 4-inch (10.16 cm) hailstones, while an impressive 91 mph (146.45 km/h) wind gust was recorded outside Davenport, Nebraska. On the same day, a high end EF-3 tornado tracked through Andover, Kansas causing significant damage and leading to 3 injuries.

Above: Total precipitation in inches (top) and departure from normal
precipitation in inches (bottom) for April 2022. These maps are produced by HPRCC and can be found on the Current Climate Summary
Maps page at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current.

Snowpack Update

Snowpack at the end of April was above normal for the Upper Missouri River Basin mountains. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as of April 24, Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) above Fort Peck Reservoir is currently at 14.2 inches (36.07 cm) which is 92% of the average (1981-2010). The reach between Fort Peck and Garrison Reservoirs is currently 13.3 inches (33.78 cm) which is 95% of the average (1981-2010). SWE was near or above median in most Wyoming basins. In Colorado, SWE was well below normal in the southwestern basins.

Temperatures

Cooler temperatures were present throughout much of the region this month, with well below normal temperatures in the northern states. Multiple locations in the north ranked among the coldest months on record.


In addition to the heavy snowfall across North Dakota, temperatures were also well below normal for the state. Grand Forks ranked 2nd coldest month on record, with an average temperature of 31.8 degrees F (-0.1 degrees C) which is below freezing. Dickinson, North Dakota, and Sisseton, South Dakota also both recorded their 3rd coldest April on record. A number of locations in North Dakota, South Dakota, and
Wyoming observed a top 10 coldest months on record.


Opposite of the cooler temperatures to the north, the southern part of the region experienced above-normal temperatures. Temperatures skyrocketed on the 22nd and 23rd, with areas in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska exceeding 90 degrees F (32.2 degrees C). The highest
temperature of 101 degrees F (38.3 degrees C) was recorded southwest of North Platte, Nebraska on April 23rd. High winds were once again present during these two days, which led to fire issues. The Strom Prediction Center issued several extremely critical fire days during the month during these hot and windy periods

Above: Daily temperatures for April 2022, along with extremes and
normals values in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Drought Conditions

Dryness continues in the southern parts of the region, while the northern parts received normal to above-normal precipitation. Drought conditions improved significantly in North Dakota and parts of South Dakota after the recent snowstorms, while Kansas and Nebraska remained dry.


The dryness across the western parts of both Nebraska and Kansas led to widespread expansion of extreme drought (D3). Nearly 20 percent of both states are in D3 at the end of April. Some precipitation fell in the drought-stricken areas towards the end of the month, which should improve conditions. Severe drought (D2) also greatly expanded across eastern Colorado towards the end of the month, with many areas receiving well below 25 percent of their normal precipitation. Contrary to the dryness, the northern parts of the region have observed above-normal precipitation. Drought conditions improved one to two classes across the western Dakotas and northern Wyoming. Elsewhere in the region, other improvements and degradation were
observed. According to the Climate Prediction Center’s U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook for May, improvements in drought conditions are likely across South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and northeastern Wyoming.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced as a joint effort of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Drought Mitigation
Center, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For current Drought Monitor
information, please see: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Climate Outlooks

According to the Climate Prediction Center, La Niña conditions are likely to continue into the summer. A La Niña advisory is currently in effect. For more information,
visit https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_
monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf


The National Weather Service’s long-range flood outlook through July indicates a high chance of minor flooding across eastern South Dakota and the lower basin in May. This will decrease over the next three months. There is a high risk of Major Flooding in northeastern South Dakota and central North Dakota. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), fire potential will be limited
in May and June but expand across the entire region by July.


The seasonal temperature and precipitation outlooks presented below combine the effects of long-term trends, soil moisture, and when applicable, the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle (ENSO). To learn more about these outlooks, please visit http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.

Temperature

The three-month temperature outlook shows an increased chance of above-normal temperatures across the majority of the United States. In the High Plains, North Dakota and northeastern South Dakota have equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal temperatures. Meanwhile, the rest of the region has increased chances of above-normal temperatures with Colorado heavily favored.

Precipitation

The outlook for the next three months indicates below-normal precipitation across the majority of the western United States. Across the High Plains there are equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal precipitation in North Dakota and northern South Dakota. The rest of the region has increased chances of below-normal precipitation.

Drought

The U.S Seasonal Drought Outlook released on April 30th indicates drought conditions are expected to remain but conditions improve across the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Kansas. Conditions are expected
to persist across Colorado and Wyoming with development likely in the central parts of the states.

Above: The three-month temperature probability outlook (top), the
three-month precipitation probability outlook (middle), and the U.S.
Seasonal Drought Outlook (bottom). For more information on these
outlooks, produced by the Climate Prediction Center, see:
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.

Station Summaries: By the Number

Download PDF below

March 2022 Climate Summary

March 2022 Climate Summary

Foothills of Colorado, Photo Courtesy of Gannon Rush

Dryness Continued into March

The dryness that has gripped parts of the region over the winter continued into March. This led to the intensification and growth of drought across South Dakota, Nebraska, and western Kansas. All three states ended the month with 45 percent of the state in severe drought (D2). In preparation for the continuation of the drought, cattle herds are being culled in Nebraska. Feedlots in the state are now near-record numbers, which is unusual for this time of the year. 

Repercussions from the drought of 2021 are becoming noticeable in North Dakota. Many cattle producers within the state rely on water from surface water sources such as stock ponds. These water sources were dried up or contained substances toxic to livestock during the drought of previous years. As a result of the lack of snowpack this winter for recharge or the dilution of toxic substances, there are concerns about the availability of water this year. Ranchers within the state have been encouraged to find other sources of water to reduce the potential for issues this year.  

Another side effect of the dryness across the region is the increased risk of wildfires. Optimal conditions for wildfires across western Kansas throughout the month led the governor to declare a state of disaster. Several large fires broke out in the southern part of the state, with the largest reported to the northwest of Wichita. Fires were also reported in Colorado, Nebraska, and South Dakota in the month of March.   

Opposite of the dryness, eastern North Dakota has been extremely wet. There are concerns about flooding along the Red River after numerous snowstorms this winter. Flooding in this region would lead to delays in planting, which could impact wheat output this year. 

Above: Departure from 1991-2020 normal temperature and percent of normal precipitation for March 2022 in the High Plains region. Maps
produced by the High Plains Regional Climate Center and are available at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current .

Precipitation

Precipitation was well below normal again in Nebraska and the Dakotas in March. Pockets of above-normal precipitation were present in eastern Colorado, eastern Kansas, southeastern Nebraska, and parts of Wyoming. The precipitation observed at these locations helped alleviate drought conditions, but deficits remain.  

Despite large portions of the region observing below normal precipitation, only two locations ranked in the top 10 driest. Williston, North Dakota recorded 0.06 inches (1.5 mm) of precipitation to rank 5th driest, while Rapid City, South Dakota observed 0.25 inches (6.35 mm) which ranked 8th driest. Several locations have also started the year among the driest on record. In Nebraska, Valentine and Norfolk were the 2nd driest on record since January 1st. Williston and Rapid City also ranked in the top 10 driest since January 1st. 

Above normal precipitation this month alleviated drought conditions. Several storms moved across eastern Kansas, which helped remove abnormally dry and improved drought conditions. Precipitation towards the end of the month slightly eased drought conditions in eastern Colorado, however, long-term dryness continues to impact the area. After a very wet March, Casper, Wyoming observed its 3rd wettest start to the year, with 3.29 inches (8.36 cm) of precipitation falling.  

The region also experienced its first severe weather of the season. On the 29th, a storm progressed across eastern Kansas with 1 inch (2.54 cm) hail and 60 miles per hour (96.56 km/h) wind gusts. An EF-1 tornado was observed in Jefferson County, with minor damage reported.   

Above: Total precipitation in inches (top) and departure from normal
precipitation in inches (bottom) for March 2022. These maps are produced by HPRCC and can be found on the Current Climate Summary
Maps page at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current.

Snowpack Update

Snowpack for the end of winter remained just below normal for the Upper Missouri River Basin mountains. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as of March 27, Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) above Fort Peck Reservoir is currently at 12.2 inches (30.99 cm) which is 79% of the average (1981-2010). The reach between Fort Peck and Garrison Reservoirs is currently 10.4 inches (26.42 cm) which is 76% of the average (1981-2010).  In the Plains, areas with snow on the ground at the end of January were observed in southern North Dakota and northeastern South Dakota. Meanwhile, warm and dry conditions resulted in snow-free areas across the remainder of the plains. 

Temperatures

Temperatures were near normal for the month of March. Isolated pockets of 8 degrees F (4.4 C) below normal were observed in north-central Colorado. Meanwhile, pockets of above normal temperatures were recorded in northeastern Wyoming, northeastern South Dakota, and southwestern North Dakota.  

Despite temperatures being near normal throughout the region, temperatures fluctuated during the month. Temperatures were well above normal on the 21st, reaching 80 degrees F (26.7 C) in the southern High Plains. The highest temperature was recorded in northwestern Kansas, with an observation of 93 degrees F (33.9 C) near Wallace. Opposite of these warm temperatures, much below normal temperatures were recorded from March 10th to 11th. Low temperatures of -25 degrees F (-31.7 C) were observed in the higher elevations of Colorado, South Dakota, and Wyoming. A brisk temperature of -40 degrees F (-40 C) was reported near Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.  

The much above normal temperatures have also coincided with high winds during the month. Red flag warnings were issued on many days in March in all states except North Dakota. Conditions were ripe for fires to break out on the 29th, which led the Storm Prediction Center to issue a rare extremely critical fire day. 

Above: Daily temperatures for March 2022, along with extremes and
normals values in Dodge City, Kansas.

Drought Conditions

Persistent dryness that has plagued parts of the region continued into March. Conditions rapidly deteriorated across the western parts of Nebraska and South Dakota, while drought intensified in western Kansas.  

Exceptional Drought (D4) was reintroduced to the region for the first time since November of 2021. Long-term dryness led to the expansion of D4 into southwestern Kansas and the slight expansion over the course of the month. Another dry month in Nebraska led to a 20 percent increase to severe drought (D2) and the introduction of extreme drought (D3) in the north-central part of the state. Drought conditions also intensified in South Dakota, with 46 percent of the state now experiencing D2. Despite the dryness plaguing the region, some areas received above normal precipitation which led to improvements. Beneficial precipitation in eastern Colorado eased conditions and led to a 24 percent reduction of D2 area coverage for the state. In eastern Kansas, abnormally dry conditions were significantly reduced. Throughout the rest of the region, other improvements and degradations were observed. According to the Climate Prediction Center’s U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook for April, drought development is likely in south-central Nebraska. 

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced as a joint effort of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Drought Mitigation
Center, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For current Drought Monitor
information, please see: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Climate Outlooks

According to the Climate Prediction Center, La Niña conditions are likely to continue into the summer. A La Niña advisory is currently in effect. For more information, visit https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf 

The National Weather Service’s long-range flood outlook through June indicates a high chance of minor flooding across eastern South Dakota and the lower basin. This will decrease over the next three months with chances dropping to below 40% by June. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), Kansas, Nebraska, and eastern Colorado have above-normal wildland fire potential throughout April. 

The seasonal temperature and precipitation presented below outlook combine the effects of long-term trends, soil moisture, and when applicable, the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle (ENSO). To learn more about these outlooks, please visit http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov. 

 Temperature

The three-month temperature outlook shows an increased chance of above-normal temperatures across the majority of the United States. The highest chances of below-normal temperatures can be observed in the Northwestern United States. In the High Plains, North Dakota and northwestern South Dakota have equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal temperatures. Meanwhile, the rest of the region has increased chances of above-normal temperatures.  

Precipitation

The outlook for the next three months indicates below-normal precipitation across the majority of the western United States. In the Midwest there are increased chances of above-normal precipitation. Across the High Plains there are equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal precipitation in North Dakota and northeastern South Dakota. The rest of the region has increased chances of below-normal precipitation. 

Drought

The U.S Seasonal Drought Outlook released on March 31st indicates drought conditions are expected to persist across the Southwest and High Plains over the next three months. Drought conditions are expected to remain and development is likely in eastern Kansas and south-central Nebraska. 

Above: The three-month temperature probability outlook (top), the
three-month precipitation probability outlook (middle), and the U.S.
Seasonal Drought Outlook (bottom). For more information on these
outlooks, produced by the Climate Prediction Center, see:
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.

Station Summaries: By the Numbers

All data are preliminary and subject to change. + indicates multiple dates, latest date listed. * indicates some missing data for the period.
Data are retrieved through the Applied Climate Information System (ACIS) and are available online through the CLIMOD system.
For more information please contact us: http://www.hprcc.unl.edu/contact.php

Download PDF below:

February 2022 Climate Summary

February 2022 Climate Summary

Western Kansas Pastures, Photo Courtesy of Gannon Rush

Drought Continued to Expand Across the Region

February was a very dry month for most of the High Plains, which led to the expansion of drought across the region. Currently, 78 percent of the region is now engulfed in drought conditions. Kansas and Nebraska have been significantly impacted by the extreme dryness that was present not only in February, but throughout the winter. Agricultural producers and resource managers are being forced to make decisions based on the current situation to prepare for potential issues in the coming months.


Despite below normal temperatures throughout most of the region, temperatures fluctuated greatly throughout the month. This swing from above normal to below normal temperatures has created issues for many different sectors, particularly recreation. Ice fishing is down in areas due to lakes not having proper time to freeze over, while ski resorts had issues with creating snow.

In eastern North Dakota, cold temperatures and an above-normal number of blizzards have occurred recently. Since the beginning of 2022, 10 blizzard warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks. This has already tied the full-year record, which was set in 2014. As a result, snow has continued to accumulate, which has created the potential to create challenges during the upcoming planting season and has an increased risk of flooding this spring. Many areas along the Red River near Fargo and Grand Forks have a 50% or greater chance of exceeding flood levels this spring as a result of the accumulating snow.

Above: Departure from 1991-2020 normal temperature (left) and percent of normal precipitation (right) for February 2022 in the High Plains region. Maps
produced by the High Plains Regional Climate Center and are available at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current

Precipitation

The dryness continued to grip the southeastern part of the High Plains in February. Kansas and Nebraska were among the driest for not only the month but for the entire winter season. In contrast, eastern North Dakota and central Colorado recorded above-normal precipitation for the month and season.


Several locations within Nebraska and northern Kansas observed their driest February on record. McCook, Nebraska, observed their 2nd driest month on record, with only trace amounts of precipitation recorded. To the north, North Platte observed 0.03 inches (0.76 mm) of precipitation, leading to their 4th driest February. Grand Island tied with 1904 for the record driest, with only 0.01 inches (0.25 mm) of precipitation observed. Hastings and Lincoln both recorded their 3rd driest February on record with 0.01 and 0.03 inches (0.25 and 0.76 mm), respectively, of precipitation.

This dryness was not only prevalent during the month, but also throughout the winter in Nebraska. Lincoln and Hastings both observed their 2nd driest winters on record, while Norfolk and Grand Island observed their 3rd driest winters. Other locations that were extremely dry included Concordia, Kansas, and Pierre, South Dakota, which recorded their 3rd and 4th driest winters, respectively.

In contrast to this dryness, several locations recorded above-normal precipitation. Sisseton, South Dakota observed their 5th wettest and 6th most snowfall for the winter. Grand Forks, North Dakota was also unusually wet, recording their 4th most snowfall and 10th wettest winter on record. Snowfall was also above-normal in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Fargo, North Dakota, where the 7th and 10th
most winter snowfall, respectively, was observed.

Above: Total precipitation in inches (top) and departure from normal
precipitation in inches (bottom) for February 2022. These maps are
produced by HPRCC and can be found on the Current Climate Summary Maps page at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current.

Snowpack Update

Snowpack for the end of winter remained just below normal for the Upper Missouri River Basin mountains. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as of March 2, Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) above Fort Peck Reservoir is currently at 13.3 inches (33.78 cm) which is 82% of the average (1981-2010). The reach between Fort Peck and Garrison Reservoirs is currently 11.4 inches (28.96 cm) which are 80% of the average (1981-2010). In the Plains, areas with snow on the ground at the end of January were observed in North Dakota and a portion of South Dakota. Meanwhile, warm and dry conditions resulted in snow-free areas across the remainder of the plains.

Temperatures

Across the entirety of the region, temperature departures were below normal for February, aside from a few small areas. In northeastern North Dakota and the Rockies, temperatures were as much as 10 degrees F (5.6 C) below normal for February. Despite the below normal temperature departures in the High Plains, temperatures fluctuated throughout the month. In Topeka, KS, temperatures dropped from a high temperature of 70 degrees F (21.1 degrees C) on the 21st to 19 degrees F (-7.2 degrees C) on the 23rd, a decrease of 51 degrees F (28.3 C). These temperature fluctuations created many impacts in the region. For example, soil in the region was not able to freeze fully, which is a concern for farmers as the planting season approaches. Sandhill crane migrations for this year also started to arrive earlier than average from the south due to the unseasonably warm temperatures throughout the winter.


Despite the varying temperatures over the course of the 2021-2022 winter season, some areas ranked in the top 10 warmest winters on record. Lander, WY observed their 8th warmest winter on record, with a season average of 27.2 degrees F (-2.7 degrees C), while the record is 30.9 degrees F (-0.6 degrees C) in 1993-1934. In Colorado Springs, CO, the season-average temperature was 34.4 degrees F (1.3 degrees C) tying with the 1975-1976 season for the 9th warmest winter on record, the record being 37.6 degrees F (3.1 degrees C) from 1933 to 1934.

Above: Daily temperatures for February 2022, along with extremes
and normals values in Fargo, North Dakota.

Drought Conditions

Dryness continued in Nebraska and Kansas, which led to widespread expansion of drought conditions. Meanwhile, drought conditions improved in North Dakota and northeastern Colorado. The region has remained free of exceptional drought (D4) conditions since November of 2021.


Drought significantly expanded across Nebraska as a result of extremely dry conditions. The state began the month with 38 percent in D1 (moderate drought) to D4 (exceptional drought), and ended with 91 percent of the state in D1 to D4. The lack of precipitation South Dakota and Kansas both observed increases of 22 and 10 percent, respectively, to D1 to D4 conditions. Contrary to this dryness, Colorado observed an 11 percent decrease to extreme drought (D3) conditions after the eastern part of the state received above normal precipitation. Drought conditions also improved after beneficial precipitation in central and northern North Dakota. Throughout the rest of the region, other improvements and degradations were observed. According to the Climate Prediction Center’s U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook for March, drought development is likely in northern Nebraska and western Colorado.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced as a joint effort of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Drought Mitigation
Center, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For current Drought Monitor
information, please see: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Climate Outlooks

According to the Climate Prediction Center, La Niña conditions are likely to continue throughout the spring season. A La Niña advisory is in effect. For more information, visit https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_
monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf


The National Weather Service’s long-range flood outlook through May indicates an increased chance of minor flooding in eastern South Dakota and the lower basin. The chance of flooding throughout that portion of the region, for March, remain above 20% with some areas greater than 80%. This will decrease over the next 3 months with the chance of minor flooding less than 20% in May. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), in the High Plains, western Kansas and Eastern Colorado have above-normal wildland fire potential and is expected to remain at this level through April.

The seasonal temperature and precipitation outlooks presented below combine the effects of long-term trends, soil moisture, and when applicable, the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle (ENSO). To learn more about these outlooks, please visit http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.

Temperature

The three-month temperature outlook shows an increased chance of above-normal temperatures across the eastern United States. The highest chances of below-normal temperatures can be observed in the
Northwestern United States. In the High Plains, North Dakota and the northern parts of Wyoming and South Dakota have equal chances of above-, below-, and near normal temperatures. Meanwhile, the rest of the region has increased chances of above-normal temperatures.

Precipitation

The outlook for the next three months indicates below-normal precipitation across the Southwest United States. In the Midwest and Northwest, there are increased chances of above-normal precipitation. Across the High Plains there are equal chances of above-, below-, and
near-normal precipitation in the Dakotas and the eastern parts of Kansas and Nebraska. The rest of the region has increased chances of below-normal precipitation.

Drought

he U.S Seasonal Drought Outlook released on February 28th indicates drought conditions are expected to persist across the Southwest and western High Plains over the next three months. Drought conditions are expected to remain and development is likely in parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Above: The three-month temperature probability outlook (top), the
three-month precipitation probability outlook (middle), and the U.S.
Seasonal Drought Outlook (bottom). For more information on these
outlooks, produced by the Climate Prediction Center, see:
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.

Station Summaries: By the Numbers

All data are preliminary and subject to change. + indicates multiple dates, latest date listed. * indicates some missing data for the period. ** indicates value is under evaluation.
Data are retrieved through the Applied Climate Information System (ACIS) and are available online through the CLIMOD system.
For more information please contact us: http://www.hprcc.unl.edu/contact.php

Download PDF Below

January 2022 Climate Summary

January 2022 Climate Summary

Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Photo Courtesy of Gavin Rush

Cold Start to the New Year

2022 began on a very cold note for the High Plains. A brutal cold front pushed through the region on the first few days of the month, with many stations recording their coldest day during the period. Temperatures plummeted below zero throughout the region, with North Dakota observing the bitterest of temperatures. Grand Forks observed a temperature of -37 degrees F (-38 degrees C) on the first, while many other stations in North Dakota experienced temperatures of -30 degrees F (-34 degrees C) or below. These frigid temperatures would linger throughout the month, with some stations having average temperatures below zero for the month.

In contrast to these cold temperatures, the middle of the month was unseasonably warm in the southern High Plains. Multiple states observed daily temperature records broken, with departures of up to 30 degrees F (17 degrees C) above normal for this time of the year. The highest temperature recorded during this period was in southwest
Kansas at Montezuma. Temperatures reached 73 degrees F (23 degrees C) on the 19th, which broke the dailytemperatur e record. Castle Rock, Colorado observed a high temperature of 72 degrees F (22 degrees C) on the 8th and broke the record for warmest day in January on record for the station. The daily average temperature on the 8th was 54 degrees (12.2 degrees C), which surpassed the previous record of 53.5 degrees F (11.9 degrees C).

Late in the month, a heavy snowstorm impacted eastern Colorado and western Kansas. A narrow swath of significant snowfall occurred on the 25th, with areas receiving 15 to 17 inches (38 cm to 43 cm). An isolated pocket along the Colorado and Kansas border received 20 or more inches (51 cm) of snow. The highest amounts were recorded near Mount Sunflower in Kansas, where 27 inches (69 cm) fell in 24 hours.

Above: Departure from 1991-2020 normal temperature (top) and percent of normal precipitation (bottom) for January 2022 in the High Plains region. Maps
produced by the High Plains Regional Climate Center and are available at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current

Precipitation

The majority of the High Plains was dry for the month of January. Large portions of Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota observed well below normal precipitation. Several snowstorms across southeastern Wyoming, northwestern Kansas, western Nebraska, and eastern Colorado led to above normal precipitation for the area.

Two locations ranked among the driest for January, while several snowstorms led to locations ranking among the snowiest and wettest (see page 6 for December monthly rankings). Dryness was most prevalent across eastern Nebraska, where Norfolk experienced the driest January on record with 0.04 inches (1 mm) of precipitation. In western Colorado, Grand Junction observed the 10th driest month on record, with only 0.14 inches (3.56 mm) of precipitation. Contrary to this, multiple snowstorms led to the 9th wettest January on record for Casper, Wyoming, with 0.90 inches (22.86 mm) of precipitation.

The snowstorm on the 25th of the month helped several locations break snowfall records. In Sharon Springs, Kansas, 21 inches (53.34 cm) of snow fell, surpassing the one-day snowfall record for the station. The large snow amounts helped the station record its snowiest January, with 31 inches (78.74 cm) of snow. This easily passed the previous record of 15.2 inches (38.61 mm), set in 2001. Nearby Dodge City observed their 7th snowiest January on record, with 11.7 inches (29.72 cm) of snow falling. In eastern Colorado, Burlington recorded its snowiest January on record after receiving 19 inches (48.26 mm) during this same storm. Cheyenne, Wyoming also observed their 8th snowiest January on record, with 14.3 inches (36.32 mm) of snow falling during the month.

bove: Total precipitation in inches (top) and departure from normal
precipitation in inches (bottom) for January 2022. These maps are produced by HPRCC and can be found on the Current Climate Summary
Maps page at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current.

Snowpack Update

Snowpack for this winter season remains just below normal for the Upper Missouri River Basin mountains. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as of December 28th, Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) above Fort Peck Reservoir is currently at 9.1 inches (231.14 mm) which is 87% of the average (1981-2010). The reach between Fort Peck and Garrison Reservoirs is currently 7.7 inches (195.58 mm) which are 86% of the average (1981-2010). In the Plains, areas with snow on the ground at the end of January were observed in North Dakota and a portion of South Dakota. Meanwhile, warm and dry conditions resulted in snow-free areas across the remainder of the plains.

Temperatures

Temperatures for the region varied throughout the month, with 2022 starting cold then transitioning to warmer than normal in the middle of the month. As a result of the fluctuating temperatures, departures in the region remained near normal. Wyoming as well portions of the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Colorado observed temperatures up to 4 degrees F (7 degrees C) above normal while the remainder of the region observed temperatures up to 4 degrees F (7 degrees C) below normal. A small area in the Rockies did observe temperatures up to 8 degrees F (14 degrees C) below normal. Despite below normal snowfall in parts of Colorado, these cooler temperatures allowed ski resorts to maintain their base snow depths.


With temperatures near normal, no locations in our region ranked in the top 10 coldest or warmest January on record, however, some areas did see new daily records set throughout the month. With a cold start to the month, Grand Forks, North Dakota set a new record low for New Year’s Day with a temperature of –37 degrees F (previous record of –35 degrees F in 1885). As the middle of the month transitioned to unseasonably warm, Hastings, Nebraska set a new daily high of 66 degrees F (19 degrees C) on the 18th, surpassing the previous record of 65 degrees F (18 degrees C) set in 1951. Sioux Falls, South Dakota also
tied their record high on the 18th with a temperature of 52 degrees F (11 degrees C) (tie with 1944+).

Above: Daily temperatures for January 2022, along with extremes
and normals values in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Drought Conditions

Dryness across the eastern part of the region led to the spread of drought and abnormally dry conditions. Meanwhile, beneficial precipitation improved conditions in the tri-state area of Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming. The region has remained free of exceptional drought (D4) conditions since November of 2021.

Drought continued to expand across Kansas during January, with nearly 60 percent of the state now under moderate drought (D1) to D4 conditions. Western North and South Dakota both experienced an increase of severe drought (D2), with conditions rising 5 and 8 percent, respectively. In the U.S. Drought Monitor, extreme drought (D3) was removed from Nebraska and reduced in Colorado and Wyoming. D1 to D4 conditions were reduced 7 percent in Colorado after the western part of the state experienced much-needed precipitation. Despite the improvements in Colorado and Wyoming, both states remained in abnormally dry (D0) to D4 conditions. Throughout the rest of the region, other improvements and degradations were observed. According to the Climate Prediction Center’s U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook for January, drought improvement is likely in western Wyoming, while drought development is likely in eastern Kansas, central Nebraska, and southern South Dakota.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced as a joint effort of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Drought Mitigation
Center, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For current Drought Monitor
information, please see: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Climate Outlooks

According to the Climate Prediction Center, La Niña conditions persist and are likely to continue throughout the winter season. A La Niña advisory is in effect. For more information, visit https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_
monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf


The National Weather Service’s long-range flood outlook through April indicates an increased chance of minor flooding in the eastern portion of the Dakotas and the lower basin. Chances of flooding remain above 60% with some areas greater than 80%. This chance will decrease slightly as the year progresses but remain elevated in the eastern Dakotas. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), in the High Plains, the majority of Kansas and Eastern Colorado have above-normal wildland fire potential and is expected to remain through March. The seasonal temperature and precipitation outlooks presented below combine the effects of long-term trends, soil moisture, and when applicable, the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle (ENSO). To learn more about these outlooks, please visit http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.

Temperature

The three-month temperature outlook shows an increased chance of above-normal temperatures across the east coast, southern plains, and parts of the southwest. The highest chances of below-normal temperatures can be observed in the Northwestern United States. In the High Plains, most of the northern parts of the region have equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal temperatures, while the southern parts have increased chances of above-normal temperatures.

Precipitation

The outlook for the next three months indicates below-normal precipitation across the Southwest and Southeast of the United States. In the Midwest and Northwest, there are increased chances of above-normal precipitation. Across the High Plains there are equal chances of above-, below-, and near normal precipitation, aside from Colorado and the western parts of Kansas and Nebraska which have increased chances of above-normal precipitation.

Drought

The U.S Seasonal Drought Outlook released on January 20th indicates drought conditions are expected to persist across the Southwest and western High Plains over the next three months. Drought conditions are expected to remain but show minor improvements in the Northwest and Northeast, with some areas likely to observe drought removal. Drought development is likely in the southern United States and the central High Plains.

Above: The three-month temperature probability outlook (top), the
three-month precipitation probability outlook (middle), and the U.S.
Seasonal Drought Outlook (bottom). For more information on these
outlooks, produced by the Climate Prediction Center, see:
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

Station Summaries: By the Numbers

Download PDF below

December 2021 Climate Summary

December 2021 Climate Summary

Sunset in Western Kansas, Photo Courtesy Gannon Rush

Active End to the Year for the Region

Warmer temperatures dominated most of the High Plains, while precipitation varied across the region. The southern portion of the region was dry, while drought-stricken parts of North Dakota and western Colorado received beneficial precipitation. The warm and dry conditions in the southern portion of the region attributed to several noteworthy events.

A strong low-pressure system moved across the southern part of the region, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. In Colorado, a 107 mph (172 km/h) wind gust was recorded in Lamar. The winds there caused power outages and damage to homes. To the east, Kansas experienced severe winds which led to substantial amounts of dust being stirred up. These dust storms resulted in the closure of several highways and numerous crashes along Interstate 70 in the western part of the state. The dry weather and intense winds also contributed to an outbreak of wildfires in north-central Kansas. Meanwhile, in neighboring Nebraska, both severe storms and snow occurred in a several-hour span. An extremely unusual derecho that was strong and fast-moving crossed the state, with numerous 75 mph (121 km/h) plus wind gusts and dozens of tornadoes reported. After the storm had passed, temperatures significantly dropped which led to snow. This light snowfall and the remaining high winds led to the first issuance of a Snow Squall Warning by the National Weather Service in Hastings, NE.

At the end of the month, a devastating wildfire broke out north of Denver, CO on the 30th. Winds gusted from 70 to 100 mph (113 to 161 km/h), with a maximum gust of 115 mph (185 km/h) recorded in Arvada. These fires rapidly spread across the foothills and engulfed up to 1,000 homes, making this among the most destructive fires in Colorado state history.

Above: Departure from 1991-2020 normal temperature (top) and percent of normal precipitation (bottom) for December 2021 in the High Plains region. Maps
produced by the High Plains Regional Climate Center and are available at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current .

Precipitation

Precipitation varied across the High Plains for December. The northern plains including North Dakota, western Colorado, and portions of Wyoming and South Dakota observed above normal precipitation for the month. In the southern High Plains, below normal precipitation was recorded, with areas in Kansas and eastern Colorado receiving less than 5 percent of their normal precipitation.

This precipitation gradient resulted in some locations ranking in the top 10 wettest and driest December on record (see page 6 for December monthly rankings). Wichita, KS observed their driest December on record with 0.01 inches (0.25 mm) of precipitation. Chadron, NE tied with 2010 and other years for the driest December on record, observing a trace of precipitation. While the southern High Plains observed below normal precipitation, on December 15th an intense derecho moved through the region impacting Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas with damaging winds, rain, tornadoes, and dust.

The largest precipitation was observed in western Colorado, with areas receiving over 3 inches (76 mm) above normal. Grand Junction, CO observed their wettest December on record with 2.08 inches (53 mm) exceeding their previous record of 2.05 inches (52 mm) in 2007.

Snowfall also varied across the region. Sisseton, SD observed their 2nd snowiest December on record with 20.3 inches (52 cm) of snow. Grand Forks, ND observed their 3rd snowiest December on record with 27.0 inches (69 cm) of snow, with the record being 36.0 inches (91 cm) and set in 2010. In contrast, Topeka, Wichita, and Dodge City, Kansas observed their least snowy December on record, tied with multiple years, with 0.00 inches of snow.

Above: Total precipitation in inches (top) and departure from normal
precipitation in inches (bottom) for December 2021. These maps are
produced by HPRCC and can be found on the Current Climate Summary Maps page at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current.

Streamflow

Dry conditions in the early winter season resulted in the Upper Missouri River Basin mountain snowpack levels being below normal for December. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as of December 28th, Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) above Fort Peck Reservoir is currently at 6.1 inches (mm), while the reach between Fort Peck and Garrison Reservoirs is 6.2 inches (mm). While the early season snowpack is below normal, it is still early in the season with ample time for the snowpack to return to normal. In the Plains, areas with snow on the ground at the end of December were observed in the Dakotas. Meanwhile, warm and dry conditions resulted in snow-free areas across the remainder of the plains.

Temperatures

Above normal temperatures prevailed throughout most of December. Except for North Dakota, much of the region recorded much above normal temperatures. The southern part of the region experienced temperature departures of 6.0 – 10.0 degrees F (3.3-5.6 degrees C) above normal. This led to many areas ranking in the top 10 warmest December on record. Grand Island, NE (period of record 1895-2021) and Norfolk, NE (period of record 1893-2021) both observed their warmest December on record. Several locations in both Colorado and Kansas recorded their second warmest December because of these much above normal temperatures. Please see page 6 for additional rankings.

On the 15th, an extremely unusual and extreme event occurred in the High Plains. Temperatures in the southern part of the region exceeded 70.0 degrees F (21.0 degrees C) with departures up to 39.0 degrees F (21.7 degrees C) above normal in some areas. Many locations set their daily high record and their warmest temperature on record for December. Omaha, NE (period of record 1871-2021) observed their warmest December day on record, with a temperature of 74.0 degrees F (23.3 degrees C). These warm conditions lasted through most of the day until an extreme pressure system passed through, causing temperatures to drop over 40 degrees F (22.2 degrees C). The abnormally high temperatures combined with the significant winds from the pressure system led to large wildfires breaking out in north-central Kansas. The smoke from these fires was carried across Kansas and Nebraska, with the haze being seen as far away as Chicago. Over 163,000 acres (66,000 hectares) were burned before the fires were contained.

Above: Daily temperatures for December 2021 along with extremes
and normals values in Norfolk, Nebraska.

Drought Conditions

The trend of above normal temperatures and dryness across the southern High Plains continued through the month of December. Drought conditions continued their spread and intensified in Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska while the Dakotas observed improvements. Despite the intensification of drought conditions this past month, the region remained free from exceptional drought (D4) conditions.

Kansas experienced the most significant degradations to drought conditions this past month. The amount of the state covered in moderate drought (D1) to D4 increased from 19 percent to over 50 percent during the course of the month. Abnormally dry (D0) conditions now also cover 73 percent of the state. In Colorado, the entire state is now engulfed by D1 to D4 conditions. Despite minimal change to the percentage of the state in severe drought (D2), conditions in the western part of the state improved while the eastern parts declined. Above normal precipitation in the eastern Dakotas led to the reduction of abnormally dry and drought conditions. Throughout the rest of the region, other improvements and degradations were observed. According to the U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook for January, drought improvement is likely in western Wyoming.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced as a joint effort of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Drought Mitigation
Center, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For current Drought Monitor
information, please see: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/.

Climate Outlooks

According to the Climate Prediction Center, La Niña conditions remain present and are likely to continue throughout the winter season. A La Niña advisory is in effect. For more information, visit https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf


The National Weather Service’s long-range flood outlook through March indicates a continual decrease in the chance of minor flooding. There is a greater than 50 percent chance of minor flooding in areas of the lower Missouri River Basin for January and that will continue to decrease through March where it becomes a less than 5 percent chance. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), in the High Plains, Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado have above normal wildland fire potential and that is expected to remain through April.

The seasonal temperature and precipitation outlooks combine the effects of long-term trends, soil moisture, and when applicable, the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle (ENSO). To learn more about these outlooks, please visit http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.

Temperature

The three-month temperature outlook shows an increased chance of above normal temperatures across the east coast, southern plains, and parts of the southwest. The highest chances of below normal temperatures can be observed in the Northwestern United States. In the High Plains, most of the region has equal chances of above, below, and near normal temperatures, aside from Kansas, and southern Colorado which has increased chances of above normal temperatures.

Precipitation

The precipitation outlook for the next three months indicates below normal precipitation across the Southwest and Southeast of the United States. In the Midwest and Northwest, there are increased chances of above normal precipitation. Across the High Plains there are equal chances of above, below, and near normal precipitation, aside from southern Colorado which has increased chances of above normal precipitation.

Drought

The U.S Seasonal Drought Outlook released on December 31st indicates drought conditions are expected to persist across the Southwest and western High Plains over the next three months. Drought conditions are expected to remain but show minor improvements in the Northwest and California, with some areas likely to observe drought removal. Drought development is likely in the Southeast and south Texas.

Above: The three-month temperature probability outlook (top), the
three-month precipitation probability outlook (middle), and the U.S.
Seasonal Drought Outlook (bottom). For more information on these
outlooks, produced by the Climate Prediction Center, see:
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

Station Summaries: By the Numbers

Download PDF below

November 2021 Climate Summary

November 2021 Climate Summary

Colorado sunset, Photo courtesy Jennifer Balch

Warm and Dry in the High Plains

Warm and dry conditions were observed across the High Plains in November. Above-normal temperatures were recorded across the entire region with the highest departures 10 degrees F (5.6 degrees C) and higher. Precipitation across the majority of the region was below-normal outside of a portion of northeast North Dakota and a few other isolated areas. These warm, dry conditions led to many impacts within our region.

Horticulturists in Wyoming are concerned after noticing trees beginning to bud as a result of above-normal temperatures in November. While the early budding or blooming can be a pretty sight, it can be damaging to the trees. When blooming early, a sudden drop in temperatures can cause shock to the tree. It can also cause the tree’s flower or fruits not to grow next year as they have exerted all of their energy in growing early. Concerns for tourism in western South Dakota have begun throughout November as it continues to be warm and dry in the region. Many businesses in the western portion of the state, such as the Black Hills, rely on business from winter sports. With the warm temperatures and lack of snow, opening dates have been pushed back without an indication of when they will be able to open. Warm temperatures have also impacted their ability to create synthetic snow, as temperatures 28 degrees F (-2.2 degrees C) or below are needed.

Winter crops have also been impacted by warm, dry conditions. In Kansas, warm temperatures have caused winter wheat to grow more than it should. The additional plant height can cause an increased chance of problems with plant diseases and pests. Around mid-November, the crops begin to become dormant, but the warm temperatures have helped crops continue to grow and as a result, have been using ground moisture due to lack of precipitation. With drought conditions present, pulling from soil moisture is a concern as they look toward next year’s crops.

Above: Departure from 1991-2020 normal temperature (top) and percent of normal precipitation (bottom) for November 2021 in the High Plains region.
Maps produced by the High Plains Regional Climate Center and are available at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/curren
t

Precipitation

November was a dry month for the High Plains with below-normal precipitation across the region. Most of the region observed less than 50 percent of normal precipitation. As a result, departures across the region were below normal, aside from an area of above-normal precipitation in northeastern North Dakota.  The largest departures from normal were observed in southwestern Colorado, eastern Kansas, and eastern Nebraska with totals as much as 3.75 inches (95.25 mm) below normal.

This large area of below-normal precipitation led to many locations ranking in the top 10 driest on record for November (see page 6 for November monthly rankings). Salina, KS observed a trace of precipitation for the month which tied as the 3rd driest November on record. Goodland, KS also received very little precipitation for November receiving 4 percent of normal precipitation. With 0.02 inches (0.50 mm) of precipitation for November, Goodland observed its 7th driest November on record tied with 2014 and 1950. This has led to crop concerns in Kansas as winter crops pull moisture from the soil due to lack of precipitation. This can lead to problems in the crop season next year as soil moisture will be less than optimal.

Colorado, with the largest departure from normal precipitation for November, also observed some concerns as a result of the lack of precipitation. Several locations within the state recorded among their driest on record. Early season snowpack in the mountains is below normal for this time of year which has the state climatologist in Colorado concerned. An above-average snowpack is essential this year due to the current drought. Without the snowpack, water levels along the Colorado River will likely remain low. While it is still early in the season, the longer Colorado goes with little precipitation, the more it with take to make up the deficit.

Despite a dry month, Northeastern North Dakota did receive above normal precipitation for November. While it was not enough to rank in the top 10 for the month, it did help contribute to a change from D1 to D0 drought conditions for that portion of the state.

Above: Total precipitation in inches (top) and departure from normal
precipitation in inches (bottom) for November 2021. These maps are
produced by HPRCC and can be found on the Current Climate Summary Maps page at: http://hprcc.unl.edu/maps/curren
t

Streamflow Update

Above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation for November led to reduced streamflow in areas across the region. This is most present in Montana, where streamflow is below normal to much below normal across most of the state, with some gauges indicating record low streamflow. Below normal to much below normal streamflow can also be observed in portions of Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado, with record low streamflow for the month in areas of western South Dakota and Nebraska. In the lower Missouri River Basin, streamflow remains normal to above normal for most of the area with a few gauges indicating below normal streamflow.

Temperature

Temperatures for the High Plains region were above normal for the month of November. While our entire region observed above-normal temperatures, the greatest departure from normal can be observed in the western half of the region. Temperature departures in the western High Plains were 4 degrees F (2.4 degrees C) and higher with some areas observing temperatures 10 degrees F (5.6 degrees C) or more above normal.

As a result of these above-normal temperatures across the region, many locations ranked in the top 10 warmest November on record (see page 6 for November rankings) and some areas broke daily records throughout the month. Wyoming observed the greatest departure from normal temperatures for November with most of the state 6 degrees F (3.3 degrees C) above normal. Rawlins, WY observed its warmest November on record with an average temperature of 38.9 degrees F (3.8 degrees C) breaking a previous record of 38.5 degrees F (3.6 degrees C) set in 2017. This was a temperature departure of 7.6 degrees F (4.2 degrees C) above normal. A few locations observed their second warmest November on record, which included Colorado Springs, CO. Colorado Springs observed an average temperature of 45.9 degrees F (7.7 degrees C) which was 6.4 degrees F (3.6 degrees C) above normal. Throughout the month many areas in the region also exceeded daily temperature records. Pueblo, CO reached a high temperature of 75 degrees F (23.9 degrees C) for November 29th, which was 1 degree F (0.6 degrees C) above the record for that day set in 1945,1973, and 2003. On November 16th, Yankton, SD observed its warmest temperature recorded this late in the season observing a temperature of 76 degrees F (24.4 degrees C). Denver, CO exceeded its record for the latest measurable snowfall, which previously was November 21st, 1934, with no measurable snow seen in the month of November.

Above: Daily temperatures for November 2021 along with extremes and normal values in Rawlins, WY

Drought Conditions

Above-normal temperatures and dry conditions in the month of November led to the intensification of drought conditions. The southern part of the region saw an increase of severe drought (D2) and moderate drought (D3) as a result of these conditions. Despite this, the region remained free of exceptional drought (D4) conditions. 

Colorado experienced the most significant increase in drought conditions, with D2 and D3 conditions increasing 22 percent during the month in the eastern part of the state. The entire state is now experiencing abnormally dry or drought conditions. Western Kansas saw the introduction of D3 and the slight increase to moderate drought (D1) and D2 conditions after receiving below 25 percent of their normal precipitation. In Wyoming, D3 was reduced slightly in the south-central part of the state but was introduced in the southeastern portion and expanded across the northern part of the state. While in North Dakota, D1 and D2 conditions were reduced in the eastern part of the state after above-normal precipitation this past month. Throughout the rest of the region, other minor improvements were observed. According to the U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook for December, drought development is likely in southern Colorado and southwestern Kansas.


The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced as a joint effort of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Drought Mitigation
Center, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For current Drought Monitor
information, please see: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Climate Outlooks

According to the Climate Prediction Center, La Niña conditions remain present and are likely to continue throughout the winter season. A La Niña advisory is in effect. For more information, visit https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

The National Weather Service’s long-range flood outlook through February indicates a continual decrease in the chance of minor flooding. There is a greater than 50 percent chance of minor flooding in areas of the lower Missouri River Basin in December and that will continue to decrease through February where it becomes less than 5 percent chance. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), significant wildland fire potential has returned to normal for the High Plains and is expected to continue to remain normal through January. February, there is a return of above normal wildland fire potential for southeastern Colorado and southwestern Kansas.

The seasonal temperature and precipitation outlooks below combine the effects of long-term trends, soil moisture, and when applicable, the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle (ENSO). To learn more about these outlooks, please visit http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov.

Temperature

The three-month temperature outlook shows an increased chance of above-normal temperatures for most of the contiguous Unites States. The highest chances for above-normal temperatures can be seen in the Southeast and Northeast portions of the country. In the High plains, the southern portion of the region shows increased chances of above-normal temperatures, whereas, in the northern portion of the region, there is increased chances for below-normal temperatures. In the central portion of the High plains, there are equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal temperatures.

Precipitation

The precipitation outlook for the next three months indicates below-normal precipitation across the Southwest and Southeast of the United States, whereas above-normal precipitation can be observed throughout the Midwest and Northwest. In most of the High Plains there are equal chances of above-, below-, and near-normal precipitation, aside from a small portion of Colorado and Kansas with increased chances of above-normal precipitation.

Drought

The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released on November 18th indicates drought conditions are expected to persist across the Western U.S. and western High Plains over the next three months. Drought conditions are expected to show minor improvements in the Northwest, with some areas likely to observe drought removal. Drought conditions are likely to develop in portions of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Above: The three-month temperature probability outlook (top), the
three-month precipitation probability outlook (middle), and the U.S.
Seasonal Drought Outlook (bottom). For more information on these
outlooks, produced by the Climate Prediction Center, see:
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

Station Summaries: By the Numbers

All data are preliminary and subject to change. + indicates multiple dates, latest date listed. * indicates some missing data for the period.
Data are retrieved through the Applied Climate Information System (ACIS) and are available online through the CLIMOD system.
For more information please contact us: http://www.hprcc.unl.edu/contact.php.

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