Floodwaters might be flowing through Nebraska, but the drought still has a stubborn hold on parts of the state.
State Climatologist Al Dutcher at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln says floodwaters from Colorado provide some relief from two years of drought in the western two-thirds of Nebraska.
Dutcher will be watching closing as we move through this fall and winter.
“And then see how the spring rains materialize, because we need to start seeing responses with stream flows in the Republican River Basin to feel confident that we’re turning the corner,” Dutcher tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Flooding plagued Colorado, taking lives and destroying property. The overflow has entered Nebraska through a swollen South Platte River flowing into the Platte, working its way across the state.
Much hope went into this year being different, after suffering through the drought of 2012. Some rain has fallen, but not lately. Dutcher points out most areas of Nebraska have failed to receive even close to 50% of the normal rainfall the last two months.
Western Nebraska still suffers from the drought. The Panhandle remains extremely dry. The McCook area has been especially dry.
What will it take to break the drought?
“Well, it’s going to take some substantial moisture. There’s no getting around it,” Dutcher responds. “I think the first thing that we’re looking for: can we even have a semblance of normal precipitation through this fall period before we get the ground to freeze up as we move into the heart of winter.”
Then, we’ll see what spring brings.