Climate of Manhattan, Kansas

by | March 11, 2024

Manhattan is a city located in the state of Kansas, USA. Positioned at approximately 39.1836° N latitude and 96.5717° W longitude, Manhattan is part of Riley County and is situated in the northeastern part of the state, along the Kansas River. The city is known for being home to Kansas State University, a prominent institution in the region, and it serves as a cultural, educational, and economic hub.

Geographical Location:

Manhattan is situated in the Great Plains region of the United States, characterized by vast expanses of flat to gently rolling terrain. The city is part of the larger Flint Hills region, an area known for its tallgrass prairies, limestone hills, and scenic beauty. The Kansas River flows near Manhattan, contributing to the city’s landscape. Check cities in Kansas by population.

Climate Classification:

Manhattan experiences a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfa), characterized by hot, humid summers and cold winters. This climate type is typical of the central United States, with temperature variations influenced by the absence of significant topographical features such as mountains or large bodies of water.

Seasonal Variation:

Manhattan, like much of the central United States, experiences four distinct seasons, each contributing to the city’s climate.

  • Summers (June to August): Summers in Manhattan are hot and humid, with average high temperatures ranging from the upper 80s to the mid-90s Fahrenheit. July tends to be the warmest month, and occasional heatwaves may bring temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity levels can be noticeable, contributing to the muggy feel of the season. The summer season provides longer daylight hours, allowing for outdoor activities and events.
  • Winters (December to February): Winters are cold, with average high temperatures ranging from the upper 30s to the low 40s Fahrenheit. Nighttime lows frequently drop below freezing, and snowfall is a regular occurrence. The region experiences cold fronts and occasional Arctic air masses, leading to chilly conditions. Snowfall is moderate compared to some northern states, but winter landscapes are common, and residents are accustomed to winter weather precautions.
  • Spring (March to May): Spring brings a gradual warming of temperatures and the blossoming of flowers and trees. Daytime highs range from the mid-50s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit, and the region experiences a transition from winter to the warmer conditions of summer. Spring is a season of renewal, marked by the emergence of greenery and the return of milder weather.
  • Fall (September to November): Fall witnesses a gradual cooling as the region transitions from the warmth of summer to the cooler temperatures of winter. Daytime highs range from the mid-70s to the low 50s Fahrenheit. The fall season is characterized by the transformation of foliage, with vibrant colors adorning the landscape. Residents and visitors alike appreciate the scenic beauty of autumn in Manhattan.


Manhattan receives a moderate amount of precipitation throughout the year. The average annual rainfall is around 36 inches, and the city experiences a mix of rain and snow, with more rainfall during the warmer months. The distribution of precipitation is relatively even across the seasons, although spring and summer tend to be slightly wetter.

Thunderstorms are common during the warmer months, and residents may experience periods of heavy rain, thunder, and lightning. Severe weather events, including tornadoes, are a consideration in the region, and residents are familiar with safety measures and emergency preparedness.

Climate Influences:

The climate of Manhattan is influenced by its geographical location in the central United States and its relatively flat topography. The absence of significant topographical features allows for the influence of both Arctic air masses from the north and warm, moist air masses from the Gulf of Mexico.

The Flint Hills region surrounding Manhattan contributes to the city’s natural beauty and provides opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking and birdwatching. The Kansas River, flowing near the city, adds to the overall character of the area.

Educational and Economic Hub:

Manhattan is home to Kansas State University, a major institution of higher education that plays a central role in the city’s cultural and economic life. The university brings a diverse population to Manhattan, contributing to a vibrant community with cultural events, sports, and academic activities.

The city’s economy is influenced by the presence of the university, agricultural activities in the surrounding region, and various industries. Manhattan serves as a regional center for commerce, education, and healthcare.


Manhattan, like many cities, may experience microclimates within its boundaries. Urban areas can create localized temperature variations due to the heat island effect, where buildings and pavement absorb and retain heat. Parks, green spaces, and bodies of water can moderate temperatures and contribute to microclimates within the city.

Climate Change Considerations:

Kansas, like many regions around the world, is facing the impacts of climate change. Rising temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, and increased frequency of extreme weather events are among the observed changes that can have implications for communities like Manhattan.

Warmer temperatures may influence the timing of seasonal events, affect ecosystems, and impact water availability. Changes in precipitation patterns could lead to more variable weather conditions, with potential implications for agriculture, water resources, and natural ecosystems.

Efforts to address climate change in the United States include initiatives focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and adaptation strategies. As communities like Manhattan navigate the challenges posed by climate change, considerations for sustainable practices, water conservation, and resilience become increasingly important.


Manhattan, Kansas, experiences a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons. The city’s geographical location in the central United States, its flat to gently rolling topography, and its position along the Kansas River contribute to its climate characteristics. Manhattan residents enjoy hot summers, cold winters, and transitional seasons marked by the changing colors of foliage. As communities across the United States address the challenges of climate change, the importance of sustainable practices, community engagement, and adaptation strategies becomes evident in preserving the unique climate and character of Manhattan.