Soil Moisture 5-27-15

Soil Moisture 5-27-15

Statewide Soil Moisture Update

May 26, 2015

7-day precipitation forecast 5-26-15
Figure 1. Seven-day precipitation forecast from May 26, 2015. (Source: NOAA Weather Prediction Center)
Figure 2. 7-day precipitation record as of 5-26-15. (Source: High Plains Regional Climate Center)
Figure 2. Seven-day precipitation record from May 26, 2015. (Source: High Plains Regional Climate Center)

It was another wet cool week for most of the state, especially western Nebraska where 1-3 inch precipitation totals were widespread (Figures 1-2). Soil Moisture Index (SMI) values are now over 5.0 for much of this region, indicating the top 2 feet of the soil profile is at or nearing saturation (Figures 3-4). The rain was welcome in parts of southwest Nebraska though and McCook showed a nice recovery over the past week, going from an SMI of -2.1 last week to 1.5 this week.

Much of eastern Nebraska also saw precipitation this past week but at lower levels, usually an inch or less.  This was good for areas that had been at field capacity. As of now, only one eastern Nebraska site (West Point) has an SMI above 5.0.

Moderate levels of dryness persist in parts of central Nebraska, particularly around Minden where the SMI is below -3.0 and the deficit in the top 2 feet of the soil profile is over an 1 inch. Rain is predicted for some of these areas this week which could help improve dry conditions.  Other areas of the state probably would not welcome an additional inch though, especially in places where farmers have had no luck getting into the fields in recent weeks.

The Soil Moisture Index (SMI) is based on the estimated field capacity and wilting point at three depths (10 cm, 25 cm, and 50 cm) at Automated Weather Data Network (AWDN) sites under grass cover. The index may not necessarily be representative of conditions of a nearby field, particularly if differences in total precipitation over the previous week have been significant.

Follow this and other climate news for Nebraska on the High Plains Regional Climate Center website.

Eric Hunt
High Plains Regional Climate Center

Soil moisture index - Nebraska
Figure 3. Soil moisture index for May 26, 2015 for Nebraska (Source: High Plains Regional Climate Center
Surplus or deficit soil moisture
Figure 4. Surplus or deficit soil moisture. (Source: High Plains Regional Climate Center)


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