Climate and monthly weather forecast
Kansas, USA

Flag of Kansas, USA
Flag of Kansas, USA

The climate of Kansas

Kansas lies in the center of the United States, and mainly experiences three different types of climate. A small western part of the state has a semi-arid steppe (Köppen climate classification BSk) with hot summers and cold winters. The significant eastern portion has hot and humid summers and falls under the humid continental (Köppen Dfa) type. Southeastern Kansas displays a humid subtropical type (Köppen Cfa) with mild winters. Missouri in the east, Oklahoma in the south, Colorado in the west, and Nebraska in the north, border the state. Kansas has no major water bodies that influence its climate.

Kansas, the Sunflower State, has elevations that generally range from 200 meters in the east to 1232 meters in the west. The topography of the state mainly consists of vast acres of fertile farmlands in the west to green hills and forests in the east. Mount Sunflower, the highest point in Kansas, has an altitude of 1232 meters and stands just half a mile away from the Colorado border. Western Kansas lies in the great central plain of the United States. The Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas rivers, along with their tributaries, cover a major part of the state. The rain shadow effect of the Rocky Mountains and the altitude differences is having a noticeable impact on the precipitation.

Kansas has four different seasons, with occasional instances of extreme temperatures. Temperatures in the southwest frequently cross 90°F (32.2°C) in the summer. Places like Topeka and Kansas City in the east, register above 110°F (43.3°C) due to the urban heat island effect. Nights struggle to drop below 80°F (26.7°C). High humidity sends the heat index soaring in Wichita and Great Bend. Winters are cold with moderate snowfall and often experience sharp temperature changes. Nights are below freezing and average between 15°F (-9.4°C) to 25°F (-3.9°C) for the majority of the winter. Cold fronts can push temperatures to extremes below 0°F (-17.8°C). Spring is wet and warm, with a risk of thunderstorms. Fall is moderate but wet during the first half of the season.

The average snowfall ranges from 10" (254mm) to 20" (508mm) in the west to 6" (152mm) to 12" (305mm) in the east. The mountains register more than 20" (508mm) of snowfall annually. Western Kansas is dry with 18" (457mm) to 26" (660mm) of annual rainfall, while the eastern portion is relatively wetter between 36" (914mm) to 45" (1143mm).
Kansas receives a liberal amount of sunshine and registers an average of 240 sunny days in the year. Chinook winds can keep the west warm for days with day temperatures above 80°F (26.7°C) during the winter. Frost is more frequent in the northwest than in the southern regions.
Winds blow at high speeds across the vast plains as they rarely encounter high natural barriers.

Alton recorded the highest ever temperature of 121°F (49.4°C) on July 24, 1936, in Kansas, while Lebanon recorded the coldest temperature of -40°F (-40°C) on February 13, 1905.

The best time to visit Kansas

The best time to visit Kansas is from June to October that spans summer and fall. The conditions are warm and wet, but the state receives abundant sunshine, even in the presence of rainfall. Late spring in May offers comfortable, warm weather. September and October are shoulder months with fewer crowds and mild temperatures. The fall season brings brilliant colors to the landscape with scenic views as far as the eye can reach. However, tornadoes and thunderstorms frequently occur during spring and summer as Kansas lies in the Tornado Alley.

The worst time to visit Kansas

The worst time to visit Kansas is during the winter from December to February when the weather is severely cold. Cold fronts do not face significant obstructions as much of the land is plain and fertile agriculture land, especially in western Kansas. Ice storms blow occasionally and create severely cold conditions. Snowfall dominates the cold season in the mountains and closes the trails. The mercury column may dip to extreme lows below 0°F (-17.8°C) in many places. Wild temperature swings last for days together when cold and warm air masses follow each other. Few visitors like the dry winter conditions.

Weather hazards

Tornadoes, storms, droughts, dust storms, floods, and ice storms are a threat to Kansas.
Severe thunderstorms occur in spring and early summer as multiple air masses prevail over the state. Occasional droughts and dust storms occur in Western Kansas due to high wind speeds and few barriers in the form of mountain ranges. Floods are frequent during late spring and summer after heavy rainfall. Winter storms, including sporadic ice storms, bring heavy snow and high winds between December and February. Kansas is in the center of the Tornado Alley and averages 57 tornadoes annually, some of which register EF3 strength or higher.

Weather in January

January is the peak of the winter in Kansas, with freezing nights across the state. The average low temperatures are between 15°F (-9.4°C) to 22°F (-5.6°C), while the average high temperatures are in the 37°F (2.8°C) to 48°F (8.9°C) range. Weather in January »

Weather in February

February is a cold winter month in Kansas with mild days and chilly nights. The skies are usually clear except for short periods of light rainfall that push the sun behind the clouds. Day temperatures are in the 40°F (4.4°C) to 50°F (10°C) in much of the state. Weather in February »

Weather in March

March is cold to warm at the beginning of the beautiful spring season in Kansas. Western Kansas receives moderate snowfall such as 6.8" (173mm) in Goodland and 5.3" (135mm) in Elkhart. Snowfall is light everywhere else, but there is an uptick in rainfall which averages 2" (51mm) to 3" (76mm) in the state. Weather in March »

Weather in April

April brings warm temperatures to Kansas along with a significant rise in precipitation. The bright skies often give way to clouds that bring an average of 4" (102mm) to 5" (127mm) of rainfall in the state. Snowfall is absent, barring a few places such as Colby and Goodland in the northwest where it is moderate at the most. The average high temperatures are in the warm 65°F (18.3°C) to 71°F (21.7°C) range, while nights are mild in the 35°F (1.7°C) to 45°F (7.2°C) zone. Weather in April »

Weather in May

May is a charming month in Kansas with warm temperatures at the peak of the spring season. The average high temperatures are in the warm 73°F (22.8°C) to 79°F (26.1°C) range, while the average low temperatures lie in the mild zone of 46°F (7.8°C) to 57°F (13.9°C). The precipitation picks up as eastern and central Kansas receive 4" (102mm) to 6" (152mm) of rainfall, while the western part is drier between 2" (51mm) to 3" (76mm). Weather in May »

Weather in June

June is the beginning of the summer and the peak tourist season in Kansas as the land bathes in brilliant sunshine. Bright blue skies occasionally give way to cloudy ones that bring the majority of the rain. The average high temperatures shoot up to a hot 88°F (31.1°C), while the average low temperatures hover in the pleasant 58°F (14.4°C) to 65°F (18.3°C) zone. Weather in June »

Weather in July

July is usually the hottest month of the year in Kansas, with average high temperatures reaching a peak of 94°F (34.4°C). Temperatures in Dodge City, Garden City, and Liberal in the west often cross 100°F (37.8°C). The heat index can assume life-threatening proportions with high humidity like that in the south-central areas of Wichita, Salina, and Russell. June has at least 25 sunny days with cloudy skies that bring 3" (76mm) to 5" (127mm) of rainfall. Weather in July »

Weather in August

August is a hot summer month with moderate rainfall and high humidity in Kansas. Chanute in the east averages between 67°F (19.4°C) to 90°F (32.2°C), while Liberal in the west is between 64°F (17.8°C) to 92°F (33.3°C). The average temperatures across the state are in the hot 61°F (16.1°C) to 92°F (33.3°C) range with an average of 24 days of brilliant sunshine. Rainfall is to the tune of 3" (76mm) to 5" (127mm) in the majority of the state, and the driest parts lie towards the west of Route 83. Weather in August »

Weather in September

September marks the beginning of the wonderful fall season in Kansas with comfortable temperatures and beautiful colors. The average high temperatures in early autumn are in the warm 78°F (25.6°C) to 84°F (28.9°C) range, while the average low temperatures are in the mild 50°F (10°C) to 61°F (16.1°C) range. September registers an average of 3" (76mm) to 5" (127mm) of rainfall in the state with 6 to 8 wet days. Weather in September »

Weather in October

October lies in the middle of the fall season in Kansas with warm days and mild nights. The average high temperatures are in the comfortable 60°F (15.6°C) to 70°F (21.1°C) range, while the nights are mild to cold with average low temperatures in the 40°F (4.4°C) to 50°F (10°C) range. Weather in October »

Weather in November

November sees a drop in temperatures at the end of the autumn season in Kansas. The average high temperatures are in the warm range of 52°F (11.1°C) to 58°F (14.4°C), while the average low temperatures are between a freezing 25°F (-3.9°C) to cold 37°F (2.8°C). Weather in November »

Weather in December

December is the time when Kansas gets cold, and frost is a regular occurrence at night. Winter storms are prevalent in many parts of the state, driven by high-speed winds and snow. Rainfall is negligible, but snowfall is moderate in the range of 3" (76mm) to 5" (127mm). The average high temperatures are in the mild 39°F (3.9°C) to 47°F (8.3°C) range, while the average low temperatures are below the freezing zone, between 15°F (-9.4°C) and 25°F (-3.9°C). Weather in December »
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