Nebraska Weather Notes Oct. 7, 2014
Lake McConaughy has had excellent inflows the past 30 days as the lake gained 86,000 acre/feet of storage and now stands at 1,116,100 acre/feet (64% of capacity). Year over year change now stands at an increase of 309,000 acre/feet. Inflows really kicked in this past week and can probably be attributed to the widespread 2-5 inch precipitation totals from last week's storm system.
The Drought Monitor has virtually eliminated any vestiges of dryness across southeast and south central Nebraska. The only abnormally dry area is now confined to a small pocket of southwest Nebraska.
Soil moisture values continue their wet trend. Eighty five percent of the sites indicate total available soil moisture in the top 4 feet under grass are at or above the long-term average for this time of the year. Sixty percent of the stations have reached 70% of field capacity which might prove interesting if we continue to get the slow moving systems every couple of weeks.
The moisture will be great for spring pasture growth, but is creating harvest problems. Harvested corn stands at 11% compared to the five-year average of 24%. Soybeans are at 16% harvested compared to the five-year average of 41%. It's a long way until spring, but the abundance of moisture the past two months has dramatically increased our spring flood risk as the soil moisture rebound attests.
Remnants of Hurricane Simon are moving into the southwestern U.S. and will be pulled northeastward by a weak upper air trough moving across the central and northern Plains. Right now the models indicate the best chance for moisture the next two days lies across south central, east central, and southeast Nebraska.
Precipitation totals are projected to be less than 0.25 inch, except for the extreme southeastern corner where 0.25-0.50 inch is possible. Another system will try to work into the region during the second half of this weekend as an upper air trough works southeast out of the Pacific Northwest. Models are having a difficult time handling the precipitation with this system, but it appears we could see 0.25 to 0.50 inch from Saturday night through Tuesday morning.
The best chances appear to be across the eastern half of the state. Up until Tuesday morning, the models were aggressively dry from Oct. 14 through the 22, but now a couple of weak waves are depicted toward the end of next week. Still,moisture with these systems is projected to be limited and nothing more than a few sprinkles are forecasted. This will bear watching to see if later models for this period revert to a precipitation-free forecast or intensify these weak waves during successive runs.
Models continue to trend dry, so there appears to be a decent window for harvest activity during the next 16 days. Best moisture chances are Sunday-Monday, then dry for next 7+ days before a weak wave is indicated for the 20 (southeast third of state with best chance), then dry through the Oct. 26.
Extension State Climatologist: