Weekly Weather Outlook and Update: May 23, 2024

Weekly Weather Outlook and Update: May 23, 2024

More Storms Saturday Night

It's been an active week of weather in Nebraska but Mother Nature isn't done with us, as we will have another trough entering the Plains region on Saturday, May 25. The setup is favorable for severe weather across much of the central Plains and western Corn Belt region, including south-central and southeastern sections of the state on Saturday night into early Sunday morning, May 26.

The next thing we will have to watch out for is how far north and west the storm tracks. If it ends up being a bit farther north and west than is currently advertised, expect the probability of one to two inches of rain going up across eastern and south-central Nebraska. Some precipitation is projected to fall across the western portion of the state but certainly less than we are expecting further east.

Figure 1. 500-mb height anomalies on Saturday afternoon, May 25 from the ECMWF.
Figure 2. Severe storm risk Saturday night, May 25.
Figure 3. WPC projected precipitation Saturday night, May 25 into Sunday, May 26.
Figure 4. ECMWF probability of one inch of precipitation Saturday night, May 25 into Sunday, May 26.

Ideal Outdoor Weather, Then More Rain

By Memorial Day, most of the area should be rain free and the first half of the work week looks quite nice statewide with temperatures getting into the 70s and low 80s, with warmer anomalies as you go west. However, this break in precipitation is likely under 100 hours.

As we move into the end of the week, we will see a decent fetch of moisture coming up from the Gulf and a few disturbances passing through the region in more zonal flow that are likely to produce precipitation across the state. Rainfall amounts are not looking especially impressive at the moment — under a quarter inch in the Panhandle to an inch possible across parts of eastern Nebraska — but it may be unwelcome rain for producers trying to finish up planting or needing to replant, as will undoubtedly be the case in a lot of areas of east-central Nebraska. Temperatures look seasonal at the end of the week in the 70s.

Figure 5. 500-mb height anomalies on Wednesday, May 29 from the ECMWF.
Figure 6. Projected temperature anomalies next week from the ECMWF.
Figure 7. 500-mb height anomalies on Friday, May 31 from the ECMWF.
Figure 8. Projected precipitation between next Thursday, May 30 and Saturday, June 1.
Figure 9. Eight- to 14-day precipitation outlook from the CPC.
Figure 10. Eight- to 14-day precipitation anomalies from the ECMWF.
Figure 11. Eight- to 14-day precipitation anomalies from the GFS.
Figure 12. Eight- to 14-day temperature outlook from the CPC.

Drought Improvements and Excessive Moisture

The entire state saw rain over the last week but suffice to say there were significant inequalities. Areas east of Beatrice picked up under a 0.10-inch while the area between David City and west Omaha had over seven inches. The latter led to a lot of flooded basements, roadways and fields. There were also several reports of hail earlier in the week, though we thankfully missed out on the worst of the tornado outbreak this past Tuesday.

The heavy rainfall in the Highway 30 corridor did lead to broad one-category improvements and the Omaha metro area is now free of drought. The southwestern section of the state saw significant rainfall that was more humane in total (1.5-3 inches) and more needed than further east. This led to some elimination of abnormal dryness in Dundy and Chase counties. Same story in Kimball and Banner counties where 1.5-2.0 inches fell earlier in the week. The state, as a whole, is down to less than 7% in drought and less than 20% in abnormal dryness or worse. Certainly a positive. The one area that did see a bit of degradation was an area between Ogallala and North Platte that just isn't getting the rains that surrounding areas are.

Soil moisture percentiles for the top one meter of soil show very little dryness for the time of year. Only a few pockets in western Nebraska have drier than average soil moisture percentiles. The bigger problem now is the amount of the state with excessively wet soils, which includes the area from Central City over to Blair that got historic levels of precipitation Monday night and a broader section of north-central Nebraska between Ainsworth and O'Neill and Lynch down to Burwell.

Figure 13. Seven-day precipitation totals.
Figure 14. One-week change on the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Figure 15. Latest U.S. Drought Monitor.
Figure 16. Latest soil moisture percentiles from SPoRT LIS.

NASS Crop Progress Update

Seventy-nine and 60% of corn and soybean, respectively, had been planted as of the end of last week. This is a significant increase from the week before but still below the five-year averages for both.

Corn emergence came in at 38% and soybean emergence was 21%. Both are behind the five-year average but ahead of years like 2008, 2013 and 2019.

Sorghum planting is also off to a slow start with 14% planted.

Winter wheat checked in at 76% good-excellent against 5% poor-very poor, significantly higher than in recent years, and checks in at 22% headed. This is above the 5-year average.

Almost 90% of oats have emerged.

Pasture ratings of the season show 56% good to excellent against 8% poor to very poor. That is also a significant improvement over last year at this time, though the good-excellent percentage has declined somewhat in recent years. VegDRI continues to depict very good pasture conditions in the northern and eastern Sandhills regions with near-average or slightly dry conditions to the southwest of Mullen.

VegDRI rangeland map May 19
Figure 17. Latest VegDRI rangeland map.
Four-inch bare soil temperatures May 23
Figure 18. Latest four-inch bare soil temperatures.

Temperature and Precipitation Roundup

Click here to view the average temperature, growing degree days and total precipitation that had no missing days over the period from May 12-18. Includes CoCoRaHS observer reports. Below are the temperature and precipitation extremes around the state over the past week.

  • Maximum Daily High Temperature: 92°F, Culbertson
  • Minimum Daily High Temperature: 59°F, O'Neill
  • Minimum Daily Low Temperature: 29°F, Bushnell 15S
  • Maximum Daily Low Temperature: 62°F, Auburn 5 ESE
  • Maximum Weekly Precipitation: 8.65 inches, Bennington 2.9 SSW
  • Minimum Precipitation: 0.03 inches, Filley 0.4 NNW

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