Despite Snow, Authorities Say Nebraska May Still be Too Dry

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The snow Nebraska has gotten this winter may still not be enough to alleviate drought conditions for agriculture producers.

John Stoppkotte, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said that although the last week has brought new snow to the area, things have not changed for the drought outlook.

He said as far as precipitation goes, the winter months are not what can break a drought, despite the snow still on the ground.

Global indicators show that Nebraska's four-year drought isn't likely to be over anytime soon.

The National Weather Service's Drought Monitor for the week of Jan. 6 lists much of Nebraska under severe drought designation and the southeast part of the state is under an extreme drought designation. Extended Web Coverage

Drought Facts

  • A drought is a period of abnormally dry weather, which persists long enough to produce a serious hydrologic imbalance (for example crop damage, water supply shortage, etc.)

  • The severity of the drought depends upon the degree of moisture deficiency, the duration and the size of the affected area.

  • There are four different ways that drought can be defined:
    • Meteorological - a measure of departure of precipitation from normal. Due to climatic differences what is considered a drought in one location may not be a drought in another location.
    • Agricultural - refers to a situation when the amount of moisture in the soil no longer meets the needs of a particular crop
    • Hydrological - occurs when surface and subsurface water supplies are below normal.
    • Socioeconomic - refers to the situation that occurs when physical water shortage begins to affect people.

  • The Dust Bowl days of the 1930's affected 50 million acres of land, rendering the farmers helpless.

  • In the 1950's, the Great Plains suffered a severe water shortage when several years went by with rainfall well below normal.

  • The worst drought in 50 years affected at least 35 states during the long hot summer of 1988.

  • In 1988, rainfall totals over the mid-west, Northern Plains and the Rockies were 50 percent to 85 percent below normal.

  • During the great drought of 1988, Governor Guy Hunt of Alabama led a statewide prayer for rain. It came the very next day, and the thunderstorms continued for weeks.

Source: (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) contributed to this report