Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Is the Recent Drought Over in Nebraska?

Headline:  Have recent rainfalls erased the precipitation deficit in Nebraska?

It was a year ago that Nebraska experienced what is known as a "flash drought" where a lack of precipitation and extremely warm temperatures pushed the state into a serious drought.  This drought has eased during the spring and first few days of Summer but it has not totally disappeared from Nebraska.

The following maps show the precipitation "percent of normal" and "departure from normal in inches" for the time period July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013.  Three sets of maps are shown:  Nebraska; the High Plains and the continental U.S.  

The 12-month deficit in far southeast Nebraska is in the 0 to 3 inch range.  Omaha is in the 3 to 6 inch deficit range.  Lincoln is in the 6 to 9 inch defict range.  The greatest deficits exist in central Nebraska to Northeast Nebraska where there is a 9 to 12 inch one-year deficit.  The panhandle of Nebraska has a deficit of from 6 to 9 inches over the past 12 months.

The public might question this and comment "But I don't see this deficit, the lawns are green and the non-irrigated corn is growing tall".  Although that observation is in fact correct, the deficit at this time is largely a deep soil moisture deficit and not the moisture in the top profile of the soil.  We still need above normal precipitation to occur across much of the state before the National Drought Mitigation Center moves Nebraska entirely out of a drought classification.

Maps for the High Plains Region as well as the continental U.S. are also included to show the existing spatial extent of precipitation deficits across the larger region. 

NOTE:  The most recent National Drought Mitigation Center "Drought Monitor Map" is located below the following maps.

Percent of Normal Precipitation, July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013


Departure from Normal Precipitation (in Inches), July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013

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