Drought Outlook Improves for Eastern Nebraska - UNL CropWatch, April 25, 2013

Drought Outlook Improves for Eastern Nebraska - UNL CropWatch, April 25, 2013

April 25, 2013

Nebraska drought mapThe April 23 U.S. Drought Monitor depiction for Nebraska indicates the drought in eastern Nebraska has improved by one category.

Extreme southeastern Nebraska, including Auburn, Beatrice, and Falls City, has been upgraded to D1 (moderate) drought conditions. Omaha, Lincoln, Hastings, Columbus, and Norfolk have been upgraded to D2 (severe) drought conditions. There was no appreciable change for D3 (extreme) or D4 (exceptional) areas of central and western Nebraska.

The primary driver for the improvement in eastern Nebraska was improving soil moisture after 1-3 inches of moisture were recorded with the storm event that moved through the state April 21-22. High Plains Regional Climate Center soil moisture monitoring sites indicate that all stations contained within the D1 area have reached field capacity at the 4-, 12-, 24-, and 48-inch depth. All soil moisture monitoring sites are under grass.

All locations with the current D2 depicted area have reached field capacity at the 4-, 12-, and 24-inch level. In addition, over half of the sites are beginning to indicate a moisture response at 48 inches. Locations contained within the current D3 area have reached field capacity at the 4- and 12-inch level, but have yet to reach field capacity at the 24-inch level. It should be noted that all sites within the D3 area are showing moisture increasing at the 24-inch level, but are far short of field capacity.

All soil moisture monitoring sites in the small D4 area extending from southwest Nebraska into the southwestern Sandhills have not reached field capacity at the 12-inch level and the 24-inch depth is still at wilting point. Because of the near record to record cold observed this April, vegetative water demand has been virtually non-existent and is a major factor contributing to the recent upgrade in drought conditions across the state.

Al Dutcher
UNL Extension State Climatologist