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Record temps drop to 45 degrees breaking historial record in Pratt

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
The Peoples Bank digital thermometer took at 45 degree reading on Wednesday, September 9, verifying a more-than 40-degree temperature drop from the day before, setting a new record low for Pratt.

A strong cold front Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, September 8, 9 and 10, broke minimum-maximum records, dropping temperatures in Pratt and other south-central Kansas communities and rural areas to the mid-40s, according to Dodge City National Weather Service Meteorologist Marc Russell.

“It was just cold,” Russell said. “Normal temperatures are 80 or hotter, but the high in Pratt was only 46 degrees on Wednesday, September 9. That’s cold for early September. We could still get up to the 100s.”

The forecast for mid- September, Russell said, is for lows in the 50s and highs in the mid- 80s.

Russell said heavy cloud cover played a role in the non-seasonal temperature dip.

“This one was slow evolving with cold nights and never getting any sun working on the ground,” Russell said. “There were cool winds keeping it really drizzly.”

Dodge City National Weather Service Meteorologist Jonathan Finch said that north winds of 30 to 40 miles per hour blew cold air down into Kansas, straight out of Canada, to drop the September 9 temperatures to well below normal.

The last low-maximum record in Pratt for September 9 was 65 degrees, set in 1929, according to Finch.

“It was just extremely cold this month for early September with the high in Pratt of 46 when the normal high for September is in the mid-80s,” Finch said.” It’s just extremely unusual for it to be that cold this early.”

Dodge City National Weather Service is under the auspices of NOAA --the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—and is staffed 24 hours a day by 12 meteorologists, assisted by seven support staff.

The meteorologists record data on all weather events, from temperatures and wind velocity to precipitation.

Dodge City National Weather Service meteorologists post daily forecasts on the internet at weather.gov/ddc and also posts daily updates on its Facebook site-- US National Weather Service Dodge City Kansas.

“A forecast menu has an area forecast discussion option that tells why we’re forecasting what we’re forecasting and how much uncertainty there is in our forecast,” Finch said.

Fire danger forecasts are also posted in October and November, as well as in March, when fire danger is greatest, Finch said.

“When the air is very dry and vegetation is dead and it’s really windy, we also issue fire weather red flag warnings," Finch said.

The staff of Dodge City National Weather Service is currently headed by Aaron Johnson, acting meteorologist-in-charge.