Purchase photos

Hot, dry conditions record-setting

8/2/2012

By MIKE CORN

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

Still no surprise to anyone, the heat continues, setting new records as each day passes.

But now, the dry conditions are combining to set records as well, according to weather data maintained at the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Center.

About the only thing to be thankful for -- considering how hot and how dry it's been -- is that we're not living underground.

It's ridiculously hot there, and you don't have to go far to get to the heat.

For the believers, hell is moving topside.

Soil temperatures at 2- and 4-inch levels skyrocketed in July, hitting a staggering 118 degrees at the 2-inch level. It reached a high of 112 at the 4-inch level July 20.

With the lack of rain, above-ground heat and now the underground heat, it's no wonder crops aren't growing.

While overall temperatures in Hays moderated somewhat in July -- still remaining above the century mark on 23 days -- conditions remain markedly above normal.

This year's January to July is the warmest seven-month period on record. With an average temperature of 59.4 degrees through the seven-month period, it's the warmest period since temperatures first were maintained in 1902.

Part of the continuing warm conditions is a result of July, the third warmest month on record, for both maximum and minimum temperatures.

The average high temperature in July was 101.6 degrees, 8.8 degrees above normal. It was beat out only by 1934 and 1980.

Minimum temperatures remained unusually warm as well, averaging 69.6 degrees, 3.9 degrees above normal. Again, 1934 and 1980 were warmer.

It's notable that on July 29, Hays set a record for a new high, 110 degrees. That beat out a prior record of 108 set in 1940.

The overnight low, however, only dropped to 80 degrees, a new high for minimum temperatures.

Only one other temperature record was set last month, a high of 108 on July 28, matching the previous high set in 1940.

With 32 days of 100-plus temperatures through July, Hays is still well away from the record of 54 days in 1936 when temperatures topped the century mark.

Last year, there were 39 days with temperatures at 100 or higher.

Despite that, there were eight consecutive days of 100 or more in June -- matching the most ever set in 1988.

July's 13 days in a row is second only to the 18 consecutive days in 1934.

Coupled with all the heat is a lack of moisture.

Only 0.22 of an inch of rain fell in July -- spread over four rains. That's more than 3 inches below normal during the past 145 years.

That brings the rainfall total for the year to 8.23 inches, 6.37 inches below normal.

That's the sixth driest seven-month period on record.

Only 1868, 1895, 1956 -- the driest year on record -- and 1917 and 2006 were drier.