Wichita, Kansas Measures May Monthly High Temperature of 102°
On Sunday, May 4th, the temperature peaked at 102° at Wichita’s official NWS site Mid-Continent International Airport. Not only was this the hottest temperature ever measured during the month of May (previous record was 100° set on four different occasions) but was the earliest 100° reading on record (previous was May 9, 2011) and hottest reading so early in the season by a whole month: since June 4, 1933 when 102° was also observed. The city is off to its 2nd driest start of the year on record as well. Temperature and precipitation records for Wichita date back to 1888.
Another remarkable fact is that just two days previously, on May 2nd, the temperature fell to 35°, only 2° shy of the daily record low temperature of 33° set in 2005. Russell, Kansas
did break its daily record with a chilly 28° and Wichita Falls, Texas
broke its all-time monthly low for May with a 35° reading (previous record 36° on three previous occasions). Then it broke its daily record high on May 4th with 99° (previous record 98° in 2012). Oklahoma City
also had a daily record high on May 4th with a 97° reading (previous record 93° in 1955). Temperatures peaked in Oklahoma at 101° in Gage and Frederick and 103° in Kansas at Medicine Lodge—this was the hottest temperature in the nation yesterday (May 4th) outside of Death Valley (where it was 107°). Other cities in the region breaking daily record highs on May 4th included Amarillo, Texas
with 97° (old record 96° in 1947), Garden City, Kansas
with 97° (previous record 94° in 2012) and Dodge City, Kansas
with 98° (previous record 92° in 2012). Dodge City also saw a daily record high of 91° on May 3rd, just a day after the temperature was 30° (on May 2nd), only 2° from the daily record low of 28° set in 1967. A shocking turn around in temperature for Dodge City, Kansas these first few days of May: from 30° on May 2nd to daily record highs of 91° on May 3rd and 98° on May 4th.
The year is also observing an ominously dry start in the Southern Plains. Wichita, Kansas is off to its driest start to the year since the Dust Bowl year of 1936, and if no rain falls by May 8th, it will be THE driest start to the year since records began in 1888.Wichita is off to a dry start this year as the above graphic from NWS-Wichita illustrates.
Drought conditions are worsening over a wide portion of the southern Plains, especially in Texas, as the latest drought monitor report (issued on May 1st) shows:U.S. Drought Monitor report for May 1st (top map) and change in drought categories over the past two months (bottom map)
Both maps NCDC and National Drought Mitigation Center.
Christopher C. Burt