After one of Nebraska’s warmest springs on record, concern is growing about worsening drought conditions and a hot summer ahead.
State climatologist Al Dutcher says drought in Kansas has moved into southwest, south-central and southeast Nebraska.
Dutcher says if moisture doesn’t develop from a cool front this week, corn crops could be stressed even further.
“Crop water use now is being estimated in the quarter-inch to 30/100ths of an inch per day and when you calculate normal precipitation at this time of year, we expect an inch,” Dutcher says. “When you start using a quarter-inch a day, we’ll get a net decrease in our soil moisture profile and that will just exaggerate stress.”
In order for crops to bring even moderate yields, it would take an inch and a half of rain each week to stave off more deterioration. Dutcher says he’s watching to see where the drought may move next.
He says: “Will it begin its progression even farther northward and push that jetstream up into North Dakota and southern Canada? If that happens, we would expect drought condtions to materialize rather rapidly across the state and push into South Dakota.”
Dutcher says what could keep that drought from popping up in western South Dakota is if some thunderstorms push across the plains. He says, however, with lack of snowpack in the Central Rockies, the chances for that aren’t very good.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton