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Rains tease, but stay small in Hays during 2013

1/7/2014

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

To say there were plenty of false starts to 2013's weather would be an understatement.

Of the 100 rainfall events, just 77 added anything to the bottom line -- the precipitation total at the end of the year. The rest simply were recorded as a trace.

That's a problem considering it's long been suggested to get more rain, we need more rains.

Frequency, that is.

Hays recorded 21.53 inches of precipitation last year, slightly less than the 22.75 inches of precipitation that would be considered normal in the 146 years records have been maintained at the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Center at the south edge of Hays.

Not only were there fewer measurable precipitation events in 2013, but the average for each incident -- snow and rain -- was slightly less than normal based on the last 30 years of records.

Of the 77 measurable precipitation events, the average was 0.22 of an inch.

The average between 1981 and 2010, the National Weather Service official period to determine averages, was nearly 0.3 of an inch.

But Hays can consider itself lucky, falling just 1.22 inches below normal for the year.

At the Colby Research-Extension Center, there was a 6.16-inch deficit. Just 14.49 inches fell in 2013, well below the average of 20.65 inches.

Hill City reported 17.62 inches of precipitation, more than 5 inches below the normal of 22.92 inches.

At the National Weather Service office in Goodland, 16.74 inches of precipitation fell, nearly 3 inches less than the 19.66 inches considered normal for the year.

Goodland still recorded a deficit despite a record-breaking 4.85 inches of rain falling in a 24-hour period beginning Sept. 12.

Snowfall in Goodland was sharply higher than normal as well, amounting to 56 inches. That's 20.5 inches more than the normal of 35.5 inches.

Hays picked up 35.9 inches of snowfall in 2013, 17 inches of which fell Feb. 21 and 22. The annual total is 15 inches more than normal, but well below the record of 58 inches reported in 1903.

Snowfall records in Hays have been maintained since 1894.

As expected, temperatures ended cooler than normal, but just barely.

July, as expected, was the warmest month with an average high of 79.2 degrees. January had the lowest average, 28.7 degrees.

There were 17 instances of temperatures reaching 100 degrees or higher. That's one more than normal.

Temperatures fell below zero four times, all of them in December. Typically, there are seven instances when temperatures fall below zero.