We are now two-thirds of the way through our meteorological winter (December-February) and it is time to take stock of how the current upper air pattern will likely influence the remainder of our winter and whether these conditions will carry over into the first half of our spring season.
Nebraska's extended summer conditions appear to be nearing an end as the temperature trend is forecast to drop mid-November. The long-lead winter forecast sees potential for a roller coaster of highs and lows traversing the state from December through February.
The hard freeze felt across much of east central and northeast Nebraska Oct. 13 marks the second major freeze event of the month. The first, on Oct. 6, primarily impacted western Nebraska. Now, 38 of the 56 locations listed have reported minimum temperatures of 28ºF or lower (defined as a hard freeze).
A comparison of high and low temperatures across Nebraska in June and July shows a stark difference from 2015 to 2016, particularly in June. Some sites had as many as 14 more days with maximum temps over 90°F or 13 days with minimum temperatures over 70°F in June 2016.
As we enter the final stretch of the growing season, weather models are indicating that the pattern of heating up during the work week and cooling down on the weekends will continue at least through mid-August. There even appears to be a good chance that above normal moisture may be realized across the southern half of the state as monsoon moisture works around the periphery of the upper air ridge projected to be positioned across the south central High Plains the next two weekends.
After a cool start to the growing season coupled with copious rainfall, temperatures the past 10 days have felt more like July, leading to leaf rolling in corn in eastern Nebraska. Earlier cool temperatures may have partially masked accumulating soil moisture deficits. Expect continued hot, dry conditions through June 20 and then a drop to the 80s through June 24.