Statewide Soil Moisture Update, 9-7-15

Statewide Soil Moisture Update, 9-7-15

Sept. 7, 2015

Table 1. Average Soil Moisture Index by USDA NASS Crop District on Sept. 7, 2015. (Districts and EPA Ecoregions Defined) The number in parentheses shows the change from the previous week.*
Northwest - 2.4
North Central -2.1
Northeast -2.0
Central -2.2
East Central 1.5
Southwest -1.7
South Central -1.6
Southeast -1.5
*The Soil Moisture Index (SMI) is based on the estimated field capacity and wilting point at three depths (10 cm, 25 cm, 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.

Not long ago every station in Nebraska had a soil moisture index (SMI) above 0.0. Even with the recent dryness across much of the state, last Monday's report showed there were still 13 sites (mostly in the east) with an SMI above 0.0. Then last week brought little to no rain for most areas and significantly above average temperatures statewide. Now just seven sites (Concord, Firth, Holdrege, Indian Cave State Park, Mead, Monroe, and West Point) have an SMI greater than 0. Of those seven, Holdrege is the only site west of Highway 81 with a positive SMI and its days above 0.0 are numbered if it doesn't receive rain this week.

With the Labor Day rains and cooler temperatuares predicted for this week, this should improve for many areas. Rains and cooler weather also will help maintain moist conditions in east central and northeast Nebraska at sites with an SMI well above 0.0. Further west where conditions are drier, rainfall is not expected to be as significant, but the cooler temperatures will help limit additional losses to the soil profile.

Eric Hunt
High Plains Regional Climate Center


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