August Much Cooler and Wetter than Normal in Lawrence


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Geese at an impromptu meeting at the Rotary Arboretum at about 7:30 PM on August 3, 2017.  The temperature was a pleasant 77 degrees at the time on my nearby personal weather station.   The mean temperature on this Thursday at the Lawrence Airport was 5 degrees below normal with a high of 84 and low of 64.  The coolest temperature of the month was to occur early the next morning when the temperature dropped to an unseasonably cool 51 degrees.  

The month of August was 5.3 degrees cooler than normal at the Lawrence Airport, while precipitation across Lawrence was nearly twice the normal for the month.

The average high at the Lawrence Airport was 83.5 degrees, which was 5.9 degrees below normal. The average low was 60.5 degrees, which was 4.7 degrees below normal.

The warmest temperature of the month at the airport was 92 on the 19th.  The coolest temperature was 51 on the 4th.

The coolest day of the month was the 5th with a high 69, low of 55 and a daily average 62, an incredible 17 degrees below normal for a typical August day.

The warmest day of the month happened to be Eclipse Day on August 21st with a high of 91 and low of 70, resulting in a mean temperature of 4 degrees above normal for the date. This was one of only three days in August with a mean temperature above normal for the date.  The other two were the 19th and 20th, which were only one and two degrees above normal, respectively.

Rainfall data at the Lawrence Airport was incomplete due to an equipment malfunction at the airport on the 5th, when about three inches of rain fell.  However, a semi-official volunteer network of 7 rainfall stations within the city of Lawrence that utilizes standardized professional grade rain gauges, came in with a citywide average of 8.48 inches for the month. This was 4.15 inches above the normal of 4.33 inches, or 196 percent of normal.

A few major rainfall events during the month accounted for the bulk of the precipitation.

On August 5, the coolest day of the month, the Lawrence 7-station city average rainfall was 2.39 inches. Around two-thirds of an inch of this fell in the mid to late morning hours, followed by cloudy skies that kept the day unusually cool.  The remainder of the rainfall fell from heavy thunderstorms in the mid to late evening hours.

On August 16th, an average 0.51 inches fell across the city, mostly from a brief thundershower between 6 and 7 AM.

By far the most significant rainfall event occurred in the late evening of Eclipse day and overnight that night.  Between about 9 PM on August 21st and 4 AM on August 22nd, the Lawrence 7-station average was an incredible 4.92 inches across the city.  However, even this amount was ho-hum compared to what fell in many areas of the region.  For example, totals of 8 inches and more fell across southern Douglas County.  This unusually heavy and widespread rainfall event caused considerable localized flooding and  infrastructure damage throughout Douglas County and the surrounding region.

The last rainfall event of the month occurred in the late morning hours of the 27th when brief heavy showers brought a city average of 0.59 inches.

The Lawrence city average for the three calendar months of summer was 20.22 inches. Normal precipitation for the three month summer period is 13.97 inches.

For the year to date as of the end of August, the Lawrence 7-station city average stands at 35.47 inches, compared to a normal to this date of 27.86 inches.

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