Drought conditions continue to worsen across eastern Nebraska
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at UNL, NOAA, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since 2000, every Thursday, they release their latest report. And every Thursday, we hope for some good news on drought conditions across Nebraska. Sadly, we haven’t had much good news lately - and that trend continues this week with the latest report issued.
The latest drought monitor continues to show worsening drought conditions across eastern Nebraska with areas of extreme and exceptional drought continuing to expand. Areas across central and western sections of the state remained unchanged from last week, with widespread moderate to severe drought for most locations.
The biggest changes we saw from last week’s report, were expansions in areas of extreme and exceptional drought across eastern Nebraska. Areas of extreme drought continued to push further south in south central Nebraska, with areas of exceptional drought also continuing to push further south into parts of Butler, Polk, Seward, and York Counties. Lancaster County also saw severe drought conditions expand across southeastern parts of the county.
Rainfall has been almost completely MIA this month across parts of eastern Nebraska - including in Lincoln. In fact, Lincoln is currently on pace to tie for the driest May on record with just 0.49″ of rain at the Lincoln Airport since the month started. The 30 day observed rainfall graphic shows a line basically stretching from Omaha to Lincoln down towards Grand Island and Hastings where absolutely pitiful rainfall amounts have been observed over the last 30 days.
Over an ever long stretch - the meteorological spring season, which covers March, April, and May - Lincoln has only seen 1.71″ of precipitation at the Lincoln Airport. That number is currently good for the third driest meteorological spring season on record. You combine that with the fact that we saw WELL below average snowfall this winter, plus another exceptionally dry fall and summer period last year, and it’s easy to see why we have so much drought across eastern Nebraska.
The forecast moving forward offers little hope for any “drought-busting” rainfall. Projected rainfall amounts over the next week are expected to be highest across western Nebraska, where several inches of rain are possible. Unfortunately, for those areas that need the rain the most, little is expected for eastern Nebraska.
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