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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