September spent plenty of time acting like it was summer in the Wichita area.
As a result, 2015 will go down as the fifth-warmest September in the city’s history, according to the National Weather Service. The average temperature of 76.5 degrees in Wichita last month was more than 5 degrees above normal – a huge number in a statistical field where a departure of even one degree is considered significant.
Wichita logged its only back-to-back 100-degree days of 2015 over Labor Day weekend, including a high mark for the year of 102 on Labor Day.
Wichita had company last month: Garden City experienced its second-warmest September on record, and Russell’s high of 105 on Sept. 6 easily shattered the record high for the date set in 1998.
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September bucked the odds in another way, said Mike Smith, a senior vice president for AccuWeather. Normally when an area is experiencing unusually warm temperatures, it occurs during a drought.
But Wichita received plenty of rain last month. While the official rainfall total of 2.13 inches was an inch below normal for the month, other parts of the city reported much more rain.
The National Weather Service’s rainfall recording site is in southwest Wichita next to Eisenhower National Airport.
“In northeast Wichita, we had considerably more rain than that,” Smith said.
Indeed, Jabara Airport near 35st Street North and Webb recorded more than 4 inches of rain last month, he said. Other parts of the city reported similar totals.
“It’s unusual to have a near record high temperature with also plenty of rain,” Smith said. “It is an ideal setup and it’s rare.”
Those ideal conditions occurred because a dome of high pressure southwest of Kansas was strong enough to boost temperatures a little and yet weak enough to let cold fronts move into Kansas and bring regular rounds of precipitation, Smith said.
The pattern shows no sign of shifting just yet even with October’s arrival. Showers are likely in the region on Friday night and Saturday, he said, and again the middle of next week.
Wichita’s warmest Septembers
Average Fahrenheit temperature, by year
1. 1931 - 79.4 degrees
2. 1998 - 78.5
3. 1954* - 77.6
3. 1939* - 77.6
5. 2015 - 76.5
6. 1978 - 76.3
7. 1911 - 76.1
8. 1933 - 75.9
9. 1947 - 75.4
10. 1921 - 75.3
Source: National Weather Service