• Record low temperature set over weekend at KCI

  • Next frost is a ways off, though

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  • The next frost might not roll around for a while.
    It hit 26 degrees early Sunday morning at Kansas City International Airport, a record for Oct. 7, bringing frost three weeks earlier than normal. The old record low was 27 in 2000.
    Anything below 28 is considered a hard freeze, and at KCI that arrives for the first time, on average, on Oct. 28.
    That low of 26 also was more than 20 degrees cooler than normal for this time of year, but conditions are swinging around to more moderate weather for the week. It’s supposed to be sunny and 69 today, then 49 tonight. Wednesday brings much the same. It should reach 70 on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service, but there’s also a chance of rain and thunderstorms Thursday through Saturday. There’s no frost or freeze in the forecast for at least a week.
    This comes against the backdrop of continued drought. The Weather Service says the gains from all the heavy rain around Labor Day have essentially dried up. The 18.55 inches of rain that’s fallen at KCI since Jan. 1 is on pace with some of the driest years on record, including 1953 (20.93 inches, the all-time record), 1936 (21.51 inches), 1988 (24.22 inches) and 1934 (27.17 inches). The Kansas City average is 38.86 inches, and the record high is 60.25, in 1961.
    Jackson County and most of the metro area are still in what the Weather Service categorizes as severe drought. For the year, just 57 percent of normal rainfall as been recorded at KCI. The airport is on the northern edge of the metro area, but it’s where official records are kept. Other rainfall totals are somewhat better. In Lee’s Summit, for example, the Weather Service has recorded 23.51 inches of rain, which is still just 68 percent of normal.
    The drought is affecting the Missouri River, too. The Weather Service says the inflow of water from the entire river basin, which covers 10 states and even a slice of Canada, is at an all-time low. Releases of water from the Gavins Point dam on the South Dakota-Nebraska border are normal for this time of year, but higher-than-normal releases from reservoirs in Kansas are helping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintain navigable river levels. Still, some tributaries to the Missouri are running at as little as 15 percent of normal flow.

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