Drought Statement for
  Western and North Central Nebraska
  April 2012

 

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORTH PLATTE NE
350 PM CDT THU APR 19 2012

...MODERATE DROUGHT CONDITIONS HAVE DEVELOPED ACROSS PORTIONS OF THE
EASTERN NEBRASKA PANHANDLE AND PORTIONS OF THE WESTERN SAND HILLS...

.SYNOPSIS...

AFTER A VERY WARM MARCH ACROSS WESTERN AND NORTH CENTRAL
NEBRASKA...APRIL HAS ALSO STARTED ABOVE AVERAGE FOR TEMPERATURES FOR
THE MONTH. IN ADDITION...A TRANSITION TO A SLIGHTLY MORE ACTIVE
WEATHER PATTERN BY THE MIDDLE OF THE APRIL HAS ALLOWED MANY SITES TO
SEE ABOVE AVERAGE PRECIPITATION FOR THE MONTH...WHICH FOLLOWED A
DRIER THAN AVERAGE MARCH. HOWEVER...THE EASTERN PORTION OF THE
PANHANDLE DID NOT SEE AS MUCH RAIN IN THE LAST 30 DAYS AND CONTINUED
TO SEE BELOW AVERAGE PRECIPITATION TOTALS INTO THE FIRST PART OF
APRIL. THEREFORE THIS AREA HAS A MORE IMMEDIATE CONCERN FOR
WORSENING DROUGHT CONDITIONS.

FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE MONTH...A RIDGE OF HIGH PRESSURE WILL
DOMINATE THE CENTRAL PLAINS FOR THE FIRST FEW DAYS BEFORE
TRANSITIONING AGAIN TO A MORE ACTIVE PATTERN TOWARD THE END OF NEXT
WEEK. THIS TRANSLATES TO A PERIOD OF MAINLY DRY WEATHER FOR THE FIRST
FEW DAYS OF NEXT WEEK BEFORE A BETTER CHANCE OF RAIN WILL DEVELOP BY
THE END OF NEXT WEEK. THERE IS A HIGH LIKELIHOOD THAT TEMPERATURES
WILL REMAIN ABOVE AVERAGE ACROSS ALL OF WESTERN AND NORTH CENTRAL
NEBRASKA THROUGH THE END OF THE MONTH...WHICH MEANS ANY
PRECIPITATION TOWARD THE END OF NEXT WEEK WILL LIKELY BE IN THE FORM
OF RAIN.


.LOCAL AREAS AFFECTED...

AS OF APRIL 17 ACCORDING TO THE US DROUGHT MONITOR...MODERATE
DROUGHT CONDITIONS WERE LOCATED ACROSS THE SOUTHEASTERN PANHANDLE
AND PORTIONS OF THE WESTERN SAND HILLS...OR ROUGHLY WEST OF A LINE
FROM HYANNIS TO BRULE. ABNORMALLY DRY CONDITIONS WERE FELT ACROSS
SHERIDAN...FAR WESTERN CHERRY AND EASTERN PORTIONS OF
GRANT...ARTHUR...KEITH AND ALL OF PERKINS COUNTY.


.CLIMATE SUMMARY...

.CLIMATE SUMMARY...
SUMMARY OF RECENT MONTHLY RAINFALL CONDITIONS FROM SELECTED
STATIONS ACROSS WESTERN AND NORTH CENTRAL NEBRASKA. THE SUMMARY
INCLUDES THE PREVIOUS 6 MONTH PRECIPITATION TOTALS...OCTOBER TO
MARCH...AND THE PRECIPITATION TOTALS FROM MARCH. THESE DO NOT
INCLUDE THE APRIL RAINFALL TOTALS...WHICH HAVE BEEN ABOVE NORMAL
FOR PARTS OF THE SOUTHWEST INTO NORTH CENTRAL NEBRASKA.

               6 MONTH PRECIP/INCHES     LAST MONTH PRECIP/INCHES

LOCATION       OCT-MAR  NORMAL   DEP   |    MAR    NORMAL    DEP
NORTH PLATTE     4.79    4.49   0.30   |    0.82    1.05   -0.23
VALENTINE        5.12    4.08   1.04   |    0.31    1.07   -0.76
BROKEN BOW *     5.12    5.70  -0.58   |    0.39    1.40   -1.01
IMPERIAL   *     2.70    4.12  -1.42   |    0.23    1.07   -0.84

*  PRECIPITATION DATA INCLUDES A COMBINATION OF AUTOMATED SENSORS
   AND COOPERATIVE DATA.

BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION FOR MARCH WAS ACCOMPANIED WITH WELL ABOVE
NORMAL TEMPERATURES.

                           AVERAGE TEMPERATURE/DEGREE F

LOCATION      JAN  NORMAL  DEP | FEB  NORMAL  DEP | MAR  NORMAL  DEP
NORTH PLATTE  29.5  25.0  +4.5 | 28.3  29.0  -0.7 | 49.8  38.0 +11.8
VALENTINE     29.6  23.6  +6.0 | 27.2  27.2   0.0 | 48.9  36.2 +12.7
BROKEN BOW    30.3  25.5  +4.8 | 27.5  28.0  -0.5 | 50.2  37.7 +12.5
IMPERIAL      33.5  28.3  +5.2 | 30.8  31.5  -0.7 | 50.3  39.8 +10.5


.RIVER AND RESERVOIR CONDITIONS...

BELOW TO NEAR NORMAL STREAMFLOWS ARE BEING OBSERVED IN RIVERS AND
STREAMS ACROSS THE NEBRASKA PANHANDLE AND WESTERN NEBRASKA. MOUNTAIN
SNOWPACK IN THE SOURCE REGION OF THE NORTH PLATTE RIVER IS BELOW
NORMAL FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR...AVERAGING AROUND 50 PERCENT. THIS LOW
SNOWPACK WILL KEEP FLOWS ON THE NORTH PLATTE RIVER UPSTREAM OF LAKE
MCCONAUGHY BELOW OR NEAR NORMAL IN THE FOLLOWING MONTHS. RESERVOIRS
ACROSS WESTERN AND NORTH CENTRAL NEBRASKA ARE AT OR NEAR CAPACITY.


.FIRE DANGER IMPACTS...

ELEVATED FIRE CONDITIONS HAVE BECOME COMMON THIS SPRING DUE TO A
LACK OF SIGNIFICANT PRECIPITATION AND THE PERSISTENCE OF WELL ABOVE
NORMAL TEMPERATURES ACROSS MUCH WESTERN AND NORTH CENTRAL NEBRASKA.
THESE CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR EXTREME FIRE GROWTH WITH LOW
AFTERNOON RELATIVE HUMIDITY KEEPING AREA FUELS PRIME FOR BURNING.
INTERESTINGLY...RELATIVE HUMIDITY RECOVERY HAS BEEN POOR AT TIMES
THIS SPRING...WHICH FURTHER PROMOTES THE THREAT OF EXTREME FIRE
BEHAVIOR...ESPECIALLY WITHIN CURED 1-HOUR FUELS.  ALTHOUGH RECENT
PRECIPITATION WILL HELP ELEVATE THE THREAT OF EXTREME FIRE BY
ALLOWING AREA VEGETATION TO GREEN UP /SPRING GROWTH OF LIVING
HERBACEOUS AND WOODY PLANTS/...LARGER FUELS SUCH AS 10-HR AND 100-HR
FUELS WILL REMAIN PRIME FOR BURNING AS THEIR RESPONSE TO MOISTURE IS
MUCH SLOWER.  THE MAJORITY OF FUELS ACROSS WESTERN AND NORTH CENTRAL
NEBRASKA ARE COMPOSED OF 1-HOUR FUELS...SUCH AS GRASSES AND SMALL
BUSHES...WITH THE 10-HOUR...100-HOUR AND 1000-HOUR FUELS MAINLY
LIMITED TO AREAS WITHIN THE NEBRASKA NATIONAL FOREST...NIOBRARA
RIVER VALLEY AND THE THICKER CEDAR LINED CANYONS IN SOUTHWEST
NEBRASKA.

FIRE DANGER CAN BE DETERMINED THROUGH EITHER THE 10-HOUR AND
100-HOUR DEAD FUEL MOISTURE...OR THE KEETCH-BYRAM DROUGHT INDEX
(KBDI). THE KBDI INDEX IS SPECIFICALLY RELATED TO FIRE POTENTIAL AND
IS BROKEN INTO FOUR CATEGORIES WHICH ARE USED TO DETERMINE THE
SUSCEPTIBILITY OF GROUND FUELS TO FIRE DANGER. THE FOUR CATEGORIES
AND A BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

LOW...WET WITH LITTLE DANGER OF FIRE INITIATION
MODERATE...DRYING OCCURRING WITH SOME FIRE DANGER
HIGH...GROUND COVER DRY AND WILL BURN READILY
EXTREME...DEAD AND LIVE FUELS WILL BURN READILY

THE KBDI INDEX ACROSS NEBRASKA IS MAINLY IN THE LOW RANGE BUT TRENDS
ARE SHOWING MODERATE CONDITIONS EXPANDING EASTWARD OUT OF THE
WESTERN PANHANDLE. A GRAPHIC OF THE KBDI INDEX AND DEAD FUEL
MOISTURE CAN BE FOUND ON THE WILD LAND FIRE ASSESSMENT SYSTEM (WFAS)
WEB SITE AT:

HTTP://WWW.WFAS.US

OR THE NORTH PLATTE NWS WEB SITE AT:

HTTP://WWW.CRH.NOAA.GOV/LBF/FORECASTS/FIREWX/FIREWX.PHP

THE NORTH PLATTE NWS WEB SITE ALSO HAS ADDITIONAL DATA AND FORECASTS
RELATED TO FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ACROSS WESTERN AND NORTH CENTRAL
NEBRASKA.

IF MODERATE LA NINA CONDITIONS DEVELOP AS FORECAST...FIRE CONCERNS
COULD CONTINUE TO INCREASE THROUGH THE LATE WINTER AND EARLY SPRING
MONTHS...ESPECIALLY IF PRECIPITATION REMAINS BELOW NORMAL.
CONDITIONS SIMILAR TO THIS WERE FOUND IN THE LATE WINTER/EARLY
SPRING OF 1999 WHEN THE SANDHILLS FIRE BURNED OVER 70 THOUSAND ACRES
NEAR THEDFORD.


.PRECIPITATION AND TEMPERATURE OUTLOOKS...

ACCORDING TO THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER...THE 6 TO 10 DAY AND 8
TO 14 DAY OUTLOOKS CALL FOR ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR ALL OF
WESTERN AND NORTH CENTRAL NEBRASKA. NEAR NORMAL PRECIPITATION IS
EXPECTED FOR DAYS 6 THROUGH 10 AND ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION IS
EXPECTED FOR DAYS 8 TO 14.

THE LATEST ONE MONTH OUTLOOK COVERING MAY FORECASTS EQUAL CHANCES FOR
ABOVE...BELOW OR NEAR NORMAL PRECIPITATION FOR ALL OF WESTERN AND
NORTH CENTRAL NEBRASKA. THE TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK FOR MAY IS FOR ABOVE
NORMAL TEMPERATURES.

THE THREE MONTH OUTLOOK FOR MAY...JUNE AND JULY IS FOR EQUAL CHANCES
FOR ABOVE...BELOW OR NEAR NORMAL PRECIPITATION. ABOVE NORMAL
TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED ACROSS THE PANHANDLE AND PORTIONS OF WEST
CENTRAL AND SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA. EAST OF THESE AREAS...EQUAL
CHANCES FOR ABOVE...BELOW OR NEAR NORMAL TEMPERATURES IS FORECAST.

.QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS...
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUT THIS INFORMATION PLEASE
CONTACT:

CHRIS BUTTLER
CLIMATE SERVICES FOCAL POINT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
NORTH PLATTE NE
CHRISTOPHER.BUTTLER@NOAA.GOV


.RELATED WEB SITES...

LOCAL WEATHER...CLIMATE AND WATER INFORMATION
HTTP:://WWW.CRH.NOAA.GOV/LBF

ADDITIONAL RIVER AND RESERVOIR INFORMATION
USGS - HTTP://WATER.USGS.GOV
CNPPD - HTTP://CNPPD.COM/LAKE_LEVELS.HTM

US DROUGHT MONITOR
HTTP://WWW.DROUGHT.UNL.EDU/DM/INDEX.HTML

CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER
HTTP://WWW.CPC.NCEP.NOAA.GOV


.ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...
THE DROUGHT MONITOR IS A MULTI-AGENCY EFFORT INVOLVING THE NATIONAL
WEATHER SERVICE AND NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER...THE USDA...STATE
AND REGIONAL CENTER CLIMATOLOGISTS AND THE DROUGHT MITIGATION
CENTER. INFORMATION FOR THIS STATEMENT HAS BEEN GATHERED FROM NWS
AND FAA OBSERVATION SITES...STATE COOPERATIVE EXTENSION
SERVICES...USGS...AND THE CENTRAL NEBRASKA PUBLIC POWER AND
IRRIGATION DISTRICT.


.NEXT ISSUANCE...
THIS PRODUCT WILL BE ISSUED ON THE THIRD THURSDAY OF THE MONTH. THE
NEXT ISSUANCE WILL BE MAY 17 2012.

$$

CLB/SJ/JB/JWS/MM

  Page composition
by Chris Buttler
April 2012
 

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