By Frank J. Buchman
Well, it’ll be about average, weather condition wise this spring in Kansas.
That’s good, comparatively speaking to the downside, which would be hotter, drier and more severe than normal.
Weatherman Dan Holiday, cofounder and president of The Storm Report, speaking at a Farm Profit Conference, sponsored by 580 WIBW, gave his view of “The 2016 Weather Outlook.”
Growing up on a farm at El Dorado, Holiday showed photos of his family’s operation, including the radio station, tower, and weather prediction devices, he built there as a teenager, verification of a lifetime interest in being a weather forecaster-broadcaster.
Backed by a five additional member weather prediction staff, Holiday forecasts weather throughout the day on 580 WIBW and affiliate Topeka Alpha Media stations.
Two questions people always ask a weatherman are “How cold and snowy will it be this winter?” and “What kind of severe weather season are we going to have?”
Simply, Holiday responded. “While winter storms can be predicted days in advance, the track of the low pressure system means the difference between potentially lots of snow, or none at all,” the weatherman clarified.
“Severe weather set-ups can be seen in computer models days in advance,” Holiday said. “Still, often times where severe storms will develop are not known even hours prior to firing up.”
Weather forecasting is far from an exact science, but Holliday discussed the computer models used in making his predictions.
The North American Mesoscale Model “can over overdo precipitation forecasts, yet can nail difficult forecasts that the other models missed, and has a forecast range up to 84 hours,” Holiday said.
“Most accurate of the global weather models,” according to Holiday, “is the Euro Model, which can see smaller scale events.”
Global Forecasting System (GPS) updates four times daily. “While GPS produces forecasts up to 384 hours in advance, it doesn’t work as well in the summer,” the weatherman said.
Looking to the remainder of the winter, Holiday said, “The frequency, the number of cold outbreaks and intensity here in Kansas and across the country are very difficult to predict months in advance, because many conditions make up weather patterns.”
According to the National Weather Service, Topeka had 49.39 inches of precipitation in 2015, the third-wettest calendar year on record, with most of the rain occurring in the latter half of the year.
Temperatures in Topeka last year averaged 56.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Average temperature was 56.6 degrees, while the warmest day was July 24, when the temperature was 100 degrees.
Looking to February through April, Holiday said, “There’s 30 to 40 percent chance of temperatures running above normal in northeast Kansas, with equal chance of temperatures being average, or slightly above, or below normal across the rest of the state.”
For precipitation, the weatherman forecasted: “Thirty to 40 percent chance of above normal precipitation across much of Kansas, and equal chance of slightly above, or below precipitation in extreme eastern Kansas.”
Temperatures are likely to be close to normal statewide through early spring, while “warmer temperatures persist further north, and colder weather hangs on in the south, which is unusual,” Holiday noted.
“There is a 50 percent or greater chance of above average precipitation in southwest Kansas, 30 to 40 percent chance of being above average in western and central Kansas,” Holiday said, “while average precipitation is expected in eastern Kansas, March through May.”
For April through June, “Too many variables exist for us to predict temperatures this far out,” Holiday contended, “so we have an equal chance of the temperature being above, below, or average for mid-late spring 2016.”
However, “Average precipitation is expected in central and eastern Kansas through early spring, with 30 to 40 percent chance of above normal precipitation in western and south central Kansas,” Holiday said.
If 2016 is “average,” Holiday said, “We can expect 2.48 inches of precipitation including 2-inches of snow in March, 3.54 inches of precipitation in April, 4.92 inches in May, and 5.39 inches of precipitation in June.”
Tornadoes are a concern in Kansas. From 1989 through 2013, the state had an average of five tornadoes during the month of March, 13 in April, 36 in May, and 20 during June, according to Holiday.
“The greatest severe weather threat in the early spring will likely be over the Deep South and Southern Plains,” Holiday forecasted.
“For Kansas, just like in average years, there is an increasing threat of severe weather in late April and May,” Holiday stated.
In conclusion, the weatherman said, “The 2016 Kansas Severe Weather Outlook is slightly below average, to average severe weather expected based on the current weather patterns.”