Weather officials: ‘A noticeably hotter summer’ for Wichita

Weather forecasters say the summer of 2016 looks as if it will be much hotter than last summer.
Weather forecasters say the summer of 2016 looks as if it will be much hotter than last summer. File photo

Remember that wet, cool summer last year that had folks wondering whether they’d been beamed somewhere other than Kansas?

Don’t count on that again. This summer looks like it’ll have more teeth than 2015, forecasters say.

“Overall, it is going to be a noticeably hotter summer than last year,” said Jack Boston, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.

Wichita averages about 10 100-degree days a year, and Boston said 2016 could double that number. By comparison, 2015 logged seven days where highs reached triple digits.

Boston said he wouldn’t surprised if plenty of the summer after mid-June in Kansas fits a certain description: blast furnace.

“I think we’re going to see that a bunch of times,” he said of high temperatures, low humidity and winds of at least 40 miles an hour.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center is projecting the entire nation to have above-average temperatures this summer, with both coasts broiling.

The first part of the summer should see a fair share of rain, Boston and other forecasters say, but July and August are shaping up to be dryer. The differences between this summer and last can be found in the weather patterns.

Last year, a strong El Nino was building.

“The difference this year is that we are coming off of a strong El Nino, heading into a weak La Nina,” Boston said.

“It’s really cooling off fast” in the equatorial waters of the Pacific Ocean, he said. “That is going to make for a totally different weather pattern than what we saw last summer.”

April saw much of Kansas receive record or near-record rainfall, and a National Weather Service official said he expects regular rains to persist in much of the Sunflower State into June.

“It’s going to still be an active regime” for storms, said Larry Ruthi, meteorologist-in-charge of the agency’s Dodge City branch.

After fretting about drought gripping the region following a dry winter and early spring, Ruthi said he now anticipates “at least seasonal” rainfall amounts for the summer.

The week of April 26, nearly 60 percent of Kansas was either abnormally dry or suffering from moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. But widespread rains of 2 inches or more recently has altered the outlook considerably.

The most recent drought outlook had less than 14 percent of the state abnormally dry. The Climate Prediction Center’s three-month outlook extending to the end of July has only a small portion of Kansas in drought, and even that portion is expected to be removed from drought in the near future.

Various climate prediction models are all over the place with their outlooks for later this year, Ruthi said.

“Most of them performed miserably with precipitation forecasts during the winter,” he said in an e-mail response to questions.

The Climate Prediction Center projects about average precipitation for most of Kansas this summer, with slightly above average rainfall for parts of northwest Kansas.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger