Say so long to spring, Kansas: Summer’s sizzle has arrived.
Temperatures could reach triple digits in portions of central and western Kansas later this week as a dome of high pressure has settled over much of the nation’s heartland.
“We’re shifting into a summertime pattern,” said Eric Schminke, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita. “We’re going to be in the 95- to 100-degree range throughout this week.”
Oklahoma weather officials were talking last week about how they couldn’t wait for a “death ridge” of high pressure to settle over the Great Plains and deflect severe weather away from the tornado-ravaged Sooner State. That dome has indeed arrived, Schminke said.
“It’s sprawled out across the southern two-thirds of the country,” he said. “It should be tested for performance-enhancing drugs, because it’s going to be strong.”
The heat index could reach 105 on Monday southwest of a line that stretches from Hutchinson to Wichita to Winfield on Monday. Similar levels are expected throughout central Kansas and the Wichita metropolitan area on Tuesday, when temperatures could reach 100.
Readings are expected to be well above normal throughout the week, forecasters say. That’s bad news for areas still grappling with drought.
Showers late Saturday night and early Sunday morning offered spotty rainfall totals. The official total for Wichita is just .14, but nearly two-thirds of an inch fell in other parts of the city.
The .59 that has fallen so far in June is nearly an inch below normal, Schminke said. The 14.61 inches recorded so far this year is 1.29 inches above normal.
Recent rains have helped water levels at Lake Cheney recover, but the arrival of the high pressure dome could exacerbate conditions again.
“One slow, stationary front with another two to three inches (of rain) would have been ideal” before summer weather patterns arrived, AccuWeather senior vice president Mike Smith said in an e-mail response to questions.
Schminke said he doesn’t see any chances for rain in the Wichita area for the next 10 days at least.
“I wouldn’t say we won’t get any rain for the next month,” he said, “but I can certainly see us being predominantly dry.”