Yearly Climate Summary
(Click link above to access yearly climate summary)
Monthly Severe Weather Summaries
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      2006 proved to be a very warm year climatologically with several reporting sites across south-central Nebraska and north-central Kansas finishing a degree to 5 degrees above their 30-year annual average temperatures.  Many locations finished the year with Top 5 all-time average annual temperature records.  It was the warmest year of record for York since official weather records were first recorded in 1901.  Hastings and Beloit  both experienced their second warmest year of record and Kearney and Phillipsburg their third warmest.  

    July and August produced many 100-plus degree days, and July 19th and 20th were the warmest days of the year when the mercury rose to 111 degrees at Beloit, and 109 degrees at Grand Island, Beaver City and Gothenburg.  Beloit also experienced the greatest number of days with daily high temperatures at or above 100 degrees at 23, about half of their all-time record of 45 days set in 1913 and well above their annual average 15.4 days.   On the other end of the temperature scale, the coldest temperatures of the year were recorded on the 18th of February when morning low temperatures ranged from 1 degree above zero at Beloit, to 14 degrees below zero at Greeley.

     Annual precipitation varied across our region in 2006 and it was either feast or famine.  Kearney is the apparent regional rainfall leader, finishing the year at least 2 inches above their normal 25.20 inches.   Holdrege and Phillipsburg also came close to receiving their average annual rainfall falling short by less than a quarter inch.  The first 7 months of the year were spent in drought at many locations, with replenishing and record rainfall coming in August and September.   Between 7 and 8 inches of rain in the Kearney area during the first two weeks of August gave Kearney it’s 2nd wettest August since 1894, and Holdrege it’s 3rd wettest since 1894.  Several locations suffered a 2 to 3 inch rainfall deficit for the year with York, Plainville and Beloit ending up with some of the greatest shortfalls.                     


     Some of the regional climatological highlights by month:

     January 2006 was the warmest January in over 100 years for many locations.  Plainville’s average monthly temperature of 40.0 degrees was 13.7 degrees above their monthly average and 2.4 degrees above the all-time January record set in 1933.   Kearney’s 39.2 degree average monthly temperature was also an all-time record, beating out the 35.1 record set in 1933.   It was the 7th driest month on record for Phillipsburg and the 10 driest January since 1893 at Beloit.

     February also finished with below average precipitation with York receiving 12 hundredths of precipitation, a lot more than most locations and a half to three quarters of an inch below normal.

     The March 18-22nd snow storm qualified as a 100-year storm for many locations.  Over 2 feet of snow (30 inches) fell at Greeley during the course of the storm and the three day total was nearly 10 inches above their annual average snowfall.   Although it was a crippling snowstorm it brought beneficial moisture to our local area.  

     April turned out to be the warmest April since 1895 across the United States and many local Top Ten temperature records were also set.  Hastings and Phillipsburg both experienced their 4th warmest April of record.

     Average monthly temperatures in May finished 2 to 5 degrees above normal at most reporting sites, and it was another month of below normal precipitation, with only Phillipsburg coming close to receiving their monthly normal precipitation.  Precipitation deficits for May were around an inch-and-a-half to as much as three-and-a-half inches below normal.

     The first half of June was warm with average daily temperatures running between 5 to 15 degrees above normal.   Some of the heaviest rainfall in over 10 years fell in the areas around Kearney with 4.5 to 7 inches of rain during the 15th through the 17th.  As June came to a close, it marked the first time since 1950 that there had not been a confirmed tornado reported in our 30 county area during the first 6 months of the year.

     Temperatures heated up in typical July fashion with nearly all reporting sites easily breaking the 100-degree mark.  Average monthly temperatures finished 2 to 4 degrees above the 30-year normal.   Beloit’s high temperature of 111 degrees on the 19th was only 2 degrees shy of their all-time record high of 113 degrees last set on July 6th 1964. 

     Record rainfall returned again in August and for Kearney it turned out to be the second wettest August since 1894.   Many locations benefited from heavy rain during the month.  The rain also helped take the edge off the heat and many locations finished the month with near normal average temperatures. 

     September forgot it was part of 2006 when average monthly temperatures ended up 2 to 6 degrees below the September "norm."  Many locations finished the month in the Top 5 category of coolest average monthly temperatures for September.   To find a September with similar temperatures you would have to go back 10 to 15 years.

     The first week of October started out with above normal warmth but on the 9th a cold front brought a significant cool down that held for much of the month.  Like September, October was one of the coolest on record since the late 1800’s.  Beaver City ended up with their 5th coolest October of record, and Superior tied it’s 6th coolest October.   October usually marks the first month with measurable snowfall and this October could only muster a trace when the first snow of the season fell at Greeley on the 12th.

     November was the "rollercoaster month" when reviewing temperatures, with alternating cold and warm throughout the month.  New daily record high temperatures were set at many locations on the 8th and again on the 22nd and overall, October ended up with above normal average monthly temperatures.

     Winter weather arrived nearly to the "solstice" in December when a slow moving Pacific storm brought a mix of rain, freezing rain and snow to our region.  The storm brought record rainfall and significant icing to the Kearney and Hastings areas on the 20th and 21st.   


Monthly Summary of Severe Weather for 2006

 January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
(click a month above to jump to that month’s summary)


    The first month of 2006 was the warmest January on record for the region. The month was dominated by fair weather high pressure which pushed average temperatures about 15 degrees above normal. In fact, most of south central Nebraska and north central Kansas experienced average daily high temperatures of 50 degrees or higher. Such warm temperatures are more typical of late March rather than January.


There were no major severe or unusual weather events during February.


    The month of March always brings a change of seasons, and March 2006 brought a few different seasons to south central Nebraska and north central Kansas. Early morning severe thunderstorms on the 12th brought nickel to quarter size hail to Thayer, Nuckolls, Jewell and Smith counties. Two traffic accidents were reported in conjunction with the storms, including a vehicle and trailer blown off the road near Fairmont, Nebraska which resulted in 3 injuries.

    Winter made a legendary return to the region just as spring arrived with a record breaking snowfall in some areas. Snow began accumulating on the 19th and continued through the 21st. Total snowfall ranged from 6 to 12 inches across north central Kansas to as much as 30 inches in Greeley, Nebraska. Snowfall of 20 inches was fairly common near and north of the Grand Island and Hastings, Nebraska areas. With north winds of 25 to 35 mph driving the wet snow, most roads, including Interstate 80 in south central Nebraska, businesses and schools closed. A few shelters opened along Interstate 80 to house stranded motorists.

    About 10 days later, the month came to a close with severe thunderstorms dumping large hail and producing damaging winds across a good size section of the region. Once again, nickel to quarter size hail was common, but 75 mph winds turned over a semi-tractor trailer on Interstate 80 just west of Giltner, damaged a grain bin near Stromsburg and resulted in electricity being cut off to a "good portion" of Polk county as reported by a local newspaper. 

County Snowfall Map - Snowstorm of March 18th-21st 2006

March 12th 2006 Severe Weather Summary


    April began not with showers but with wind. On the 2nd, sustained winds of 40 to 45 with gusts to 55 mph buffeted the region. Between Agra and Kensington, Kansas, a pickup was overturned while it was driven across a viaduct. Just a few days later, another round of wind and hail pounded the area with numerous reports of  quarter size hail and 70 mph winds reported in Palmer Nebraska. Fortunately, the rest of the month was fairly quiet in terms of severe weather, although thunderstorms on the afternoon of the 15th produced penny to quarter size hail across much of York, Nance and Polk counties in south central Nebraska.


    May is generally the start of the most active period of severe weather for south central Nebraska and north central Kansas.  On the 8th, a line of severe thunderstorms rumbled across north central Kansas and produced golf ball size hail in Smith County Kansas. The Smith County Emergency Manager reported some low land flooding of primarily agricultural fields due to heavy rain and runoff.

May 23rd ushered in an active final week of the month. A large area of severe thunderstorms ripped across south central Nebraska. The storms initiated west of Kearney and rolled east right through York, Geneva and Hebron. Sixty (60) mph winds and nickel size hail pounded Grand Island. There were several reports of damage to small buildings and garages in the Hastings area. Several large trees were downed and 25 to 30 utility poles snapped in the area. In addition, several center pivots were toppled. Adams and Hall counties were just 2 of 16 counties pounded by winds of 60 to 80 and hail as large as quarters.

On the 26th, a warm front lifted north across north central Kansas and produced hail and high winds. One quonset had its roof taken off due to the damaging winds in northern Phillips county. On the 31st, a series of slow moving thunderstorms dumped a quick 2.25 to 4.50 inches of rain near Simpson in Mitchell County Kansas. The rain fell in about one hour’s time and caused minor flooding in the town of Simpson and surrounding areas. Also on May 31st near Deshler, Nebraska, three to four inches of rain and the resultant runoff caused flooding on Nebraska Highway 5 and U.S. Highway 136.

Local Storm Reports from May 23rd 2006


    June usually continues the barrage of severe weather for south central Nebraska and north central Kansas and June 2006 did not disappoint, especially across south central Nebraska.

    There were several isolated events during the first 10 days of the month, including 60 to 65 mph winds reported on the 5th in Dawson and Greeley counties in Nebraska and Jewell and Mitchell counties in Kansas. Near Cozad in Dawson County, a center pivot was upset. On the 7th, penny size hail and 60+ mph winds again hit Dawson County Nebraska, this time north of Gothenburg. On June 10, golf ball size hail fell from severe thunderstorms near Strang and Milligan in Fillmore County Nebraska.

    Both the 15th and 16th of June wreaked havoc on several locations in the area. Thunderstorms in western Nebraska rolled east into the area and produced 60+ mph winds. On the 15th, the severe thunderstorms stretched from Gosper to Hall County in south central Nebraska. A tin storage building and its contents were heavily damaged in Elwood. Trees were uprooted and power lines downed in the Kearney and Grand Island areas, with much of southwest Kearney losing power for some time. Trees were reported to have fallen on homes in Shelton.

    On the 16th, hail the size of baseballs resulted in millions of dollars in crop and property damage, mainly across Kearney, Buffalo, Adams and Hall Counties in south central Nebraska. Once again, the Shelton area withstood the brunt of the storms, with windows broken out, siding damaged and crops mowed to the ground by the wind driven hail. Sixty (60) mph winds were reported in Wood River. In Hastings, tents at the annual Cottonwood Festival were destroyed. Soybeans fields near Axtell were completely destroyed and nickel size hail was reported just west of Kenesaw.

    After a short respite, another round of severe weather was ignited across south central Nebraska from June 20-24. Initially, the weather roller coaster ride began with late night decaying thunderstorms in Kearney causing a "heat burst", or a rapid rise in temperature usually due to the influx of very dry, sinking air into a location. In this case, the temperature in Kearney rose from 70 degrees to 93 degrees between 3 and 4 am. Wind gusts of 60 mph were reported with the storms. The 21st brought large hail to parts of the area including baseball to teacup size hail reported in Thayer County near Hebron and near Bruning and Belvidere.

    On June 22nd, lightning struck a home in York and ignited a roof on a home. No one was injured. Late on the evening of the 23rd, severe thunderstorms broke tree limbs in Miller and near Oxford in south central Nebraska. Minor crop damage was reported near Wilsonville. Another round of penny to golf ball size hail hit the area from Grand Island north to St. Libory on the afternoon of the 24th. The golf ball size hail was reported around Grand Island.

    Back in north central Kansas on June 29th, severe crop damage was reported around Lebanon and Burr Oak due to quarter to golf ball size hail driven by 50+ mph winds. The worst damage occurred in a swath from 4 miles north of Lebanon to 5 miles north of Burr Oak, where fields of wheat, corn and soybeans were totally destroyed.


    July brought several small severe weather events and one fairly large event. The most significant severe weather event was on the 13th when nearly all of south central Nebraska and a small part of north central Kansas sustained hail and wind damage. There were numerous reports of quarter to golf ball size hail with baseball size hail falling near Red Cloud and Deshler, Nebraska. Vehicles, homes and crops were damaged in several locations. Wind gusts to 65 mph were reported near Greeley and Hebron, Nebraska.  Similar damage was reported in Jewell County Kansas around Burr Oak and Esbon.

    Earlier in the month, on July 1st, severe crop damage occurred near Wolbach, Nebraska, or about 40 miles north of Grand Island. Large hail and high winds damaged the siding on a farmhouse while ripping corn and soybeans in the area to shreds. On the 10th, thunderstorms with very intense rainfall resulted in flash flooding over eastern Dawson and western Buffalo Counties. Later on the same day, heavy rain around Grand Island, Dannebrog, Osceola and Silver Creek resulted in minor flooding in and near those communities.

    On the 21st, early morning thunderstorms produced wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph. Trees took the brunt of the damage, especially around Edgar and Red Cloud, Nebraska. A grain bin lost parts of its roof and there was damage to homes and buildings.  



    In recent years, August has brought a rapid close to severe weather for south central Nebraska and north central Kansas. That was not the case in August, especially early in the month.

    Severe thunderstorms greeted the month on the 1st. Winds of up to 70 mph were reported and as much as three inches of rain fell. The thunderstorms started near U.S. Highway 183 and moved east across south central Nebraska. Golf ball size hail and 70 mph winds pounded Holdrege, Nebraska and a lumber supply business was damaged in town. Power poles where snapped north of Shelton in Buffalo County. Outbuildings and trees were damaged at Franklin and Macon in Franklin County. By 10:30 pm CST, the thunderstorms had reached U.S Highway 81 from York to Hebron and were producing 60+ mph winds. A home under construction was damaged in York and several trees were uprooted or damaged in the Hebron area. Sporadic power outages were reported.

    From the 6th through the 10th, there were several reports of hail and strong winds with severe thunderstorms, although damage from any one event or as a whole was considered minor. On August 16th, a deluge of heavy rain resulted in widespread flooding across Fillmore County in south central Nebraska. Over 8 inches of rain was recorded northeast of Fairmont with nearly 6 inches in Geneva. Both the Turkey and Indian Creeks spilled over their banks and 10 bridges were underwater in Fillmore County at one point. The streets of Geneva were quickly flooded and some damage was reported at local businesses.

    More flooding occurred on the 18th and 19th. Heavy rains caused flash flooding in Adams and Furnas counties in Nebraska and in Mitchell and Rooks counties Kansas. In Nebraska, U.S. Highway 281 was flooded for a couple of hours in southern Adams County near Ayr. Highways 6 and 136 in eastern Furnas County were covered by water around midnight. Numerous county roads sustained damage. In Mitchell County Kansas, water levels were high enough in the town of Beloit to stall a few cars. Over in Rooks County, several county roads were washed out south of Stockton.    


Heavy Rains Drench the Region on August 16th


    Ironically, as the severe weather season usually starts to spin down quite a bit, September 2006 brought the region’s first tornado for the season.

    Thunderstorms on September 15th across south central Nebraska spawned the first tornado report. A tornado was reported along Ravenna road in eastern Buffalo County. An old barn was destroyed. The tornado was rated an F0. F0 is the weakest rating on the Fujita scale. Elsewhere, there were widespread reports of hail and high winds. Hail 2 to 3 inches in diameter hammered northern Adams and Hall counties. There was several hundred thousand dollars in damage to vehicles in Hall county. Power was lost in Hansen and Trumbull. Large trees were toppled in Fullerton and Shelby by 70 mph winds. The severe weather delayed the start of several high school football games that evening.

    More thunderstorms rumbled across south central Nebraska the next night, September 16th, this time along and east of State Highway 14. Hail up to 2 inches in diameter was reported near McCool Junction and Fairmont. Seventy (70) mph winds blew across Clay, Fillmore and Thayer counties, with a semi-trailer blown over at Sutton.

    On September 21st, it was a cool and dreary afternoon across north central  Kansas. Thunderstorms began to roll north into the area from central Kansas around 2 pm. The first tornado spun up in Lincoln County and bounced north across the Mitchell County line southeast of Victor. One farmstead was hit on the 15 mile path. Outbuildings and a TV antenna/tower were damaged. A second tornado was spotted with the first tornado around Solomon Rapids. As it moved north on its six mile path, the tornado stayed in open country and caused no damage. The last confirmed tornado set down just northeast of Beloit and was on the ground for about six miles. No significant damage was reported. All three of the tornadoes were rated F0 on the Fujita scale.

September 9th, 10th and 11th Weekend Rainfall Totals


There were no major severe or unusual weather events during October.

October 30th, 2006 Peak Wind Gusts


There were no major severe or unusual weather events during November.


    Though December started out on the chilly side, temperatures warmed nicely with several days between the 5th and 15th in the 50s and 60s. Precipitation was nearly non-existent, that is until December 20th.

    A major winter storm spun its way onto the plains. With mild temperatures in place at the start of the storm, precipitation began as rain, and pretty much stayed as rain. In fact, freezing rain blanketed the majority of south central Nebraska and parts of north central Kansas on the night of the 19th and during the day on the 20th. By the end of the day, a fresh coat of ice resulted in broken tree limbs, power lines and power poles, especially along and west of U.S. Highway 281 across south central Nebraska. Some of the worst damage was west of Kearney into Dawson County where some towns didn’t have power for several days. Ironically, roads and sidewalks across the area were not terribly slick as air temperatures near 32 degrees and unseasonably warm ground temperatures combined to limit the surface icing. A small section of south central Nebraska measured 1 to 2 inches of snow toward the end of the event, primarily across Valley, Sherman, northwest Buffalo and northern Dawson counties.

    Despite all the ice, a major benefit from the storm was the moisture. Nearly all of south central Nebraska and north central Kansas measured one inch or more of precipitation. The precipitation fell at a slow enough rate to allow for nearly complete infiltration into the unfrozen ground.

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 Written by Michael Moritz and Larry Wirth  
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