Soils in Central, Eastern Nebraska near Saturation

Soils in Central, Eastern Nebraska near Saturation

March 27, 2009

Heavy rainfall during October 2008 left many areas of south central, central, and east central Nebraska with soil profiles that are saturated or close to field capacity in the upper 4 feet of the profile.  Areas within these regions have received 8 to 12 inches of moisture from October 1, 2008 through March 19, 2009.

There is little room for additional moisture storage in these regions until summer crops begin extracting moisture.  An elevated flood risk will remain though mid-May for the Blue, Elkhorn, and Platte watersheds east of Grand Island.  The highest flood risk is assigned to the upper half of the Blue River basin which lies in a region that received 10 and 12 inches of moisture since last October.

As of March 19, most Nebraska river gauges were reporting normal to above normal flow rates, except for the Republican River basin west of McCook and the Platte River basin west of Ogalalla. Stream flows are rated between 1% and 5%, meaning that 95% or more of the historical flows at these locations exceeded the readings for that day.

Flood risk remains well below normal for these areas due to low surface and sub-surface soil moisture.

Al Dutcher
Extension State Climatologist