Nebraska got a taste of winter this weekend, but whether the burst of cold weather indicates a colder-than-normal winter or an end to the drought is not clear.
Low temperatures over much of Nebraska this weekend hovered around the freezing mark, dropping lower in western Nebraska where the state received its first snowfall of the season. The wind chill dropped into the teens in western Nebraska as a wet snow moved in.
“What does this all mean? Well, it just means that we live in a place of great extremes of weather. Is it a precursor of what our winters are going to be? We don’t know,” State Climatologist Ken Dewey tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN, “Right now, we just know that it’s acting very odd. It’s trying to become a cold winter, but yet the long-range computer models are saying, ‘No, it’s going to have to be going have to be a warmer than normal winter, because of some of the factors that are going on to control our climate.’”
Dewey, with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, says the wet snow in western Nebraska this weekend also doesn’t give an indication of what is to come. Dewey isn’t counting on the winter to end the drought.
“We’ve gone into what’s called a flash drought, a very strong drought and there’s no real mechanism right now to end that drought,” Dewey says. “If it were spring, there would be hope, because spring is normally the wettest time in Nebraska. But, right now, we’re going into the driest time of year.”
Dewey says it will take a bit more data to determine what the winter holds.
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this report.