Finger on the Weather

Wichita’s winter delivered some surprises

While you were sleeping late Wednesday night, winter shuffled off the stage with a whimper.

It was one of the driest winters ever for Wichita, according to the National Weather Service. It barely snowed, too.

Now, the spring solstice isn’t until March 20, but meteorological winter ends on the last day of February. Unless you made like a bear and hibernated all winter, you know Wichita got next to no snow.

Officially, 1 inch of snow fell in the city this winter. But even that total deserves an asterisk — or is that a snowflake? Because .7 of that inch was actually sleet, meteorologist Andy Kleinsasser said.

Technically, sleet counts as snow. But try building a snowman out of sleet. Or fashioning a decent snowball.

The 1 inch of snow tied for the fifth-least amount in Wichita history, with 1998-99.

There wasn’t much rain to go with the paucity of winter precipitation, either.

The .51 of an inch in precipitation from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28 is the third-least for that period in the city’s history, according to the National Weather Service.

It’s the driest winter in nearly 100 years.

You’ll have to go all the way back to 1922-23 to find a drier winter than this one, Kleinsasser said.

The record books also say there’s no guarantee Wichita is done with snow until next winter. The state record for most snow in a 24-hour period was set in March, after all.

In the years to come, Wichita’s winter of 2017-18 won’t wow historians. If anything, it’ll elicit a yawn.