Not only are we celebrating a changing of the seasons, but yesterday I also celebrated my 30th birthday. The Autumnal Equinox or more commonly known as the first day of fall occurred this past Saturday. This happens when the sun passes directly over the equator. During the Equinoxes, the Earth is at its closest distance to the Sun. However, since the Earth begins to tilt away from the Sun, the Northern Hemisphere cools down. Hence, the temperatures and hours of daylight decrease as we head towards the Winter Solstice.
To no ones surprise, the summer of 2012 was the driest for the entire state of Nebraska and one of the driest on record, for some selected cities. For example, during the months of June, July and August, both Norfolk (1.88”) and Grand Island (2.37”) recorded the lowest precipitation in the 117 years of record keeping. Lincoln came in 4th place, recording 4.20”. Our current drought conditions are the direct result of the lackluster winter and spring seasons followed by a very dry summer.
The record breaking heat of 2012 did nothing improve the drought conditions. With the exception of the Dust Bowl years (1934-1936), 2012 had the 3rd warmest summer in Omaha and the 4th warmest in Norfolk. In Lincoln, it was the 4th warmest following the summers of 1936, 1934, and 1913. The average high temperatures for the months of June, July, and August looked like this; Lincoln - 91.5 degrees, Grand Island - 91.1 degrees, Omaha - 90.7 degrees, and Norfolk - 90.5 degrees.
Unfortunately, it does not look good for the next couple of months. The three month outlook, produced by the Climate Prediction Center, is indicating that temperatures will be above average for October, November, and December. As for precipitation, near or to slightly below normal conditions are predicted. For everyone’s sake, we are hoping for more in the way of rain to help alleviate our drought conditions. One thing we do know is that you can always get the latest forecast from the 1011 Weather Center. So, you’ll need not wonder why…
Meteorologist Tony DeGrand