One of the Driest Novembers on Record

November 2007 will go down as one of the driest Novembers on record for many locations in south central Nebraska. The dry month was quite a turn around from the very wet period experienced through the first 2 or 3 weeks of October.  Aurora, Nebraska reported no measurable precipitation (0.00") during the month. This tied the monthly record for the lowest amount of precipitation during the month of November, which most recently occurred in 2002. Ironically for Aurora, a record tying dry November followed a record breaking wet October during which 7.38" of rain fell. What a difference a month makes!

The very dry conditions were prevalent across the region. Many stations reported less than 0.10" of measurable precipitation for the month. Though not records, Grand Island only reported a trace of precipitation, Kearney 0.01" and Hastings 0.04". The following table is a short summary of precipitation totals for a few spots in November 2007.

Location Normal November Precipitation 2007 Precipitation Rank Driest November on Record Wettest November on Record Year Records Began

Grand Island



3rd Driest

0.00" - 2 times most recently in 1939

3.77" in 1983





12th Driest

0.00" - 5 times most recently in 1954

3.96" in 1996





11th Driest

0.00" - 9 times most recently in 1989

4.00" in 1931





Driest Ever (tied)

0.00" - 8 times most recently in 2002 (now 2007)

4.12" in 1983





8th Driest

0.00" - 7 times most recently in 1976

4.32" in 1983


Loup City



9th Driest

0.00" - 8 times most recently in 2002

4.51" in 1983





16th Driest

0.00" - 13 times most recently in 1989

3.39" in 1975





11th Driest

0.00" - 8 times most recently in 1954

5.70" in 1983





18th Driest

0.00" - 5 times most recently in 1980

4.34" in 1998





7th Driest

0.00" - 3 times most recently in 1989

6.20" in 1996


Smith Center



21st Driest

0.00" - 11 times most recently in 1989

4.93" in 1989


A complete accounting of the weather conditions in November for Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney is available in the Monthly Climate Report (CLM). You can access the product on the NWS Hastings Climate page and choose the "Monthly Climate Summary (CLM)" option.

 Dry Weather Pattern Took Hold

The dry weather was associated with a change in the overall weather pattern in late October. That change forced the upper level flow across the Central Plains to originate from the northwest ("northwest flow"). This pattern generally produces dry weather across south central Nebraska and north central Kansas. Average temperatures are usually above normal, although there tends to be both periods of above normal and below normal temperatures. This was the case in November as temperatures averaged about 3 to 5 degrees above normal for the entire area for the month, and the combination of record high temperatures and followed by a cold snap both during Thanksgiving week.

The northwest flow pattern is being driven by La Nina conditions in the central Pacific ocean. La Nina occurs when water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean are cooler than normal. This change in ocean temperatures subsequently impacts the circulation patterns of the atmosphere. In the case La Nina, upper-level high pressure persists near the west coast of the United States and results in a dry, northwest flow across the Central Plains (image below). Though month-to-month variations can be significant, this pattern will favor dry over wet conditions. Generally, the Pacific Northwest and the upper Ohio Valley are most likely to experience above normal precipitation.

Typical La Nina Atmospheric Circulation Pattern

The La Nina is expected to persist into the early spring before weakening. The current state of the Pacific Ocean temperatures and La Nina forecasts can be found at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center website.

The Winter Still Looks Warm

The outlook for the winter is still one of optimism, at least in terms of temperatures. A large part of the United States, including Nebraska and Kansas, is forecast to experience above normal temperatures during the December through February period.  While we will still experience cold weather during the winter, it is expected for the entire 3-month period average temperatures will be above normal. The precipitation forecast for the Central Plains is a little less certain. There is no strong forecast signal which favors either above or below normal precipitation. Given this forecast, we should expect a typical amount of moisture from December through February, or roughly 2 to 3 inches of water equivalent precipitation. Here is a look at the most recent December through February forecasts.

December - February Temperature Outlook


December - February Precipitation Outlook

These seasonal forecasts are updated on the third Thursday of each month, with the next update scheduled for December 20th.

Another view of the forecast temperatures for this winter (and beyond) is available for ten specific locations in south central Nebraska and north central Kansas on the local Three-Month Temperature Outlook page.

 This page was produced by the National Weather Service in Hastings, Nebraska.


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