September marked by record-breaking lows

Debbie Johnson
Senior Writer
University of Missouri Cooperative Media Group

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October 5, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Missouri saw record-setting lows, too much rain in some parts, not enough in others and it continued the nearly two-year trend of cooler than normal temperatures.

"The first three weeks of September had lower than normal temperatures, while the last week had a warm spell," said Pat Guinan, climatologist for University of Missouri Extension's Commercial Agriculture Program. "When you crunch the numbers, September is going to be about 1 degree below normal."

On the morning of Sept. 13, temperatures dropped into the upper 30s across all of northern Missouri and parts of central Missouri. Guinan says both St. Joseph and Kansas City reported a record low of 37 degrees.

"It's unusual for temperatures to drop into the 30s in the first half of September," Guinan said. "Kansas City broke a long-standing record that went all the way back to 1890."

Precipitation for the month was nearly normal at about 4 inches, Guinan says. But Missouri is a big state. Some regions had more rain while others had less.

Weather observers in Holt, Linn and Adair counties reported more than 10 inches of rain, Guinan said. Perry County had less than an inch.

On Sept. 1 and 2, unusually heavy rains, 3-6 inches, fell along a 20- to 30-mile-wide corridor that ran from Cooper County eastward through Boone, Callaway, Montgomery, Warren, Lincoln and St. Charles counties, Guinan says. In and around Columbia 5 to 6 inches of rain fell over a seven-hour period, causing flooding, closed roads and waterlogged basements.

"On Sept. 9 and 10 some localized areas in northern Missouri reported several inches of rain in just a few hours," Guinan said. "In northern Holt County there was a report that 7 inches of rain fell in one hour. That's a lot of water dumped in a short period time, and highly unusual."

Guinan says he's been hearing rumors of a cold and bitter winter this year. He says the Climate Prediction Center gives a 60-65 percent chance of an El Nino event. El Nino, a phenomenon where warmer than normal waters exist in the equatorial Pacific, can affect U.S. weather.

Guinan says El Nino winters generally translate to higher than normal temperatures across the northern U.S. and lower than normal temperatures across southern parts. El Nino could bring above-normal precipitation across the south and drier conditions across the Ohio River Valley.

"You notice I haven't mentioned Missouri. The Climate Prediction Center predicts most of the state has equal chances of above, below and normal temperatures and precipitation," Guinan said. "So stay tuned."

Last year, Missouri saw record-setting low temperatures, but Guinan says you can't use previous winters to predict the next one.

"Two winters ago it was above normal, the winter before that was one of our warmest winters on record," Guinan said. "You can go from one extreme to the other when you go from one winter to the next."

So hope for a mild winter but have ice-melting and snow-shoveling equipment ready, just in case.

Missouri Climate Center:

Source: Pat Guinan, 573-882-5908