Stormy Weather to Disappear — For Now

Stormy Weather to Disappear — For Now

June 19, 2009

Another week of severe weather brought localized heavy rainfall, tornadoes, and hail to parts of Nebraska. A persistent upper air trough across the western U.S. has daily injected bits of energy into the central Plains. Nebraska has been sandwiched between warm air across the southern Plains and cool air over the northern Plains, creating the perfect set-up for severe thunderstorm development.

Historically, May and June account for more than 60% of the annual tornado touchdowns in Nebraska. This year, however, there was little severe weather in May. The present upper air pattern is more typical of May than June.

Recent moisture has offset a portion of the large precipitation deficits accumulated in some areas during the first five months of the year. Unfortunately, it came with a price — devastating hail events across portions of the Panhandle, central, and southeastern Nebraska. Within the past 14 days, well over 150,000 acres of crop production has been severely damaged or destroyed.

The atmosphere is signaling an end to this daily barrage of storms and a shift to an extended period of above normal temperatures and normal to below normal moisture.

If weather models are correct, highs will be in the 90s with occasional 100s across south central and southwest Nebraska. By late June, another extended period of stormy weather could develop.

The recent rainfall and projected warmer temperatures should help the corn crop rapidly advance toward pollination. Based upon current corn development, most of Nebraska's crop should enter the critical pollination stage between June 28 and July 10. Pockets of dryness still exist across northeast and south central Nebraska, but barring an extended period of extreme heat and no moisture, most of the Nebraska corn crop should escape pollination with little or no heat stress.

Allen Dutcher, State Climatologist
Nebraska State Climate Office
School of Natural Resources