WEATHER

         Year-to-date precipitation at KPAN on July 28, 2014 is 13.63 inches.  

          KPAN recorded 13.53 inches of precipitation in 2013, which was 75% of the yearly average.  The winter storm of November 23-24, 2013 produced 6 inches of snow. 

        KPAN received 11 inches of snow and 0.56 inch moisture equivalent  from the blizzard of February 25, 2013.  It appeared the moisture content was skewed lower by poor snow catchment due to the high winds at the measurement site, and several hours of drier-than-normal snow during the height of the storm. Another measurement site on the west edge of Hereford recorded 1.53 inch of moisture. The storm produced 6-foot drifts in Hereford.  

 

Aerial view of dust storm December 19, 2012

 

         Hereford's total precipitation for 2011 was 8.78  inches - the second driest year on record. KPAN observed -8 degrees the morning of February 3rd, and maximum temps of 109 on June 25th and 26th, 2011. Both April and May passed without a single thunderstorm; an epic wall of dirt pushed across Hereford with a cold front October 17. 

       NOAA weather radio from the National Weather Service office in Lubbock  is available in Deaf Smith County at 162.50 mhz. The Hereford Mesonet site is located adjacent to the City of Hereford Water Supply site just northwest of the city, and current conditions are available here.

 

      Sunset thunderstorm June 18, 2014.        (Photo courtesy of Kirby Ramirez)

 

      KPAN has served as the volunteer weather observer in Hereford since 1981. All weather observations are reported digitally, including the end-of-month summaries. KPAN is not able to provide copies of monthly data to individuals or companies. However, monthly observation pages and other data are available online through the National Weather Service. Access the site at: http://www.weather.gov/climate/xmacis.php?wfo=ama. It's called NOWData. Select "Hereford", select the type of data requested and click "GO".

       Located within the cool-temperate climatic zone, Hereford has a dry steppe climate with mild winters. Mean annual total precipitation is 18.06 inches (1938-2006). The climate is continental, characterized by a wide annual range in temperature. Prevailing winds are south to southwesterly throughout the year although northerly winds are frequent in the colder months. Strong winds will occasionally result in blowing dust, with the strongest sustained winds occurring with the greatest frequency in March and April.                                                             

     Precipitation occurs most frequently in the form of thunderstorms. Monthly and annual totals are extremely variable, with 78% of the mean annual precip falling within the 6-month period, May through October. Monthly rainfall total decrease significantly during the colder season as frequent "northers" cut off the supply of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. During the colder seasons temperatures also show extreme variability. Cold fronts from the northern Great Plains sweep across the level Panhandle plains at speeds up to 40 miles-per-hour. Temperature drops of 50 to 60 degrees within a 12-hour period have occurred, following the passage of these fast-moving "northers".  In spite of occasional near-zero temperatures, winters in Hereford are actually mild when compared to those of the northern Great Plains. Cold spells rarely last longer than 2 or 3 days before southwesterly winds from the high New Mexican plateaus cause rapid warming. The dry air, high elevation and usually clear skies are ideal for insolation and radiational cooling; consequently, there is a large daily range between maximum and minimum temperatures.  Hereford is located in the area of highest wind potential in Texas, with sustained winds over 30 mph evident on many days in the fall, winter and spring. Although on the western edge of "tornado alley", tornadoes in the F-4 range have occurred infrequently in the western Panhandle.

     Mean annual snowfall is 13 inches, but seasonal amounts vary over a wide range. A few exceptionally heavy snows create a bias in the data and make the arithmetic mean a poor estimate of expected snowfall. An even snow cover is very unusual since strong winds often accompany snowfalls. The snowiest winter on record was 1982-83, when KPAN recorded 51.5 inches of snow. There were two stretches of 12 days each that snow remained on the ground during that December, January and February. During the blizzard of February 1-5, 1956, snow fell to a depth of 26.5 inches at Hereford.

     Hereford is at elevation of 3840 feet above sea level, at latitude 34 degrees 48 minutes north, 102 degrees 28 minutes west. While mid-afternoon temperatures are sometimes hot in summer, the high altitude and low humidity result in exceptionally pleasant weather during this season. Temperatures drop rapidly after sunset, and mid-summer minima are in the low 60s. Hereford receives about 74% of the total possible sunshine annually. The mean length of the growing season (freeze-free period) is 195 days. Average last date of a freeze in the spring is April 20, and average first date of a freeze in the fall is October 22.  Hereford typically experiences temperatures above 100 degrees and below zero each year.

 

Approaching cold front October 11, 2011      (photo courtesy Gary Schlabs)

                                                  Weather Observation History

     Rainfall and temperature observations began in Hereford in January 1905 and continued through April 1912, according to the National Weather Service. No records are available from that date until a station was established 3 blocks north of the post office on September 11, 1936. On August 20, 1942 the equipment was moved to a site on the lawn at the City Hall, 3 blocks southwest of the post office (at the current location of Dudley Bayne Park). The observing station was moved to the Holly Sugar Plant on November 11, 1964, three miles west of the post office. KPAN became the NOAA Cooperative Weather Observer on February 13, 1981, with instruments located adjacent to the studios at 218 East Fifth.

                                                  Precipitation Records   - Annual Totals

1938 - 21.37                                 1958 - 24.31                                                                           1978 - 22.22              1939 - 16.84                                 1959 - 21.46                                                                           1979 - 15.29                  1940 - 11.90                                 1960 - 27.92                                                                           1980 - 14.51                  1941 - 38.95                                 1961 - 14.46                                                                           1981 - 21.58                  1942 - 21.5                                   1962 - 18.02                                                                           1982 - 17.29                  1943 - 18.0                                   1963 - 20.93                                                                           1983 - 15.53                  1944 - 17.62                                 1964 - 11.47                                                                           1984 - 20.69                  1945 - 12.26                                 1965 - 19.89                                                                           1985 - 24.74                   1946 - 15.88                                 1966 - 13.68                                                                           1986 - 30.56                   1947 - 15.2                                   1967 - 15.78                                                                           1987 - 24.90                  1948 - 17.97                                 1968 - 18.0                                                                             1988 - 18.22                  1949 - 26.19                                 1969 - 22.5                                                                             1989 - 14.65                  1950 - 21.79                                 1970 - 9.30                                                                             1990 - 12.36                  1951 - 16.87                                 1971 - 23.0                                                                             1991 - 24.47                  1952 - 13.54                                 1972 - 15.6                                                                             1992 - 22.17                  1953 - 14.54                                 1973 - 18.0                                                                             1993 - 18.34                     1954 - 13.07                                 1974 - 23.1                                                                             1994 - 16.98                  1955 - 10.01                                 1975 - 21.0                                                                             1995 - 15.36                   1956 - 7.71                                   1976 - 18.19                                                                           1996 - 16.26                  1957 - 15.70                                 1977 - 13.83                                                                           1997 - 21.76 

1998- 16.53                                   1999- 29.11                                                                            2000 - 16.91                2001- 17.05                                  2002- 15.40                                                                             2003 - 13.36                 2004 - 36.64                                 2005- 16.62                                                                             2006 - 19.20                 2007 - 20.91                                 2008- 24.28                                                                             2009 - 15.90                 2010 - 20.71                                 2011-  8.78                                                                              2012 - 16.52                         2013 - 13.53

 

 

Brownout, midday north of Hereford. April 29, 2014

 

 

     Links:  National Weather Service-AMA      NWS-LUB

                  High Plains Water District 

                  Hereford Airport Weather Site  

                  Bootleg Weather Site    West Texas Mesonet