Oct. 2-3, 2013: Widespread 2-5+ Inches of Rain Across Several Nebraska Counties

A complex of thunderstorms with very heavy rainfall initially flared up north of Interstate 80 during the mid-late afternoon hours of Oct. 2, 2013, before expanding in area and sagging southward through much of South Central Nebraska during the evening and overnight hours, eventually exiting the NWS Hastings coverage area shortly before sunrise on Oct. 3, 2013. By the time rain had ended, several areas generally northeast of a line from Loup City-Blue Hill-Superior had received at least 2-3", but with localized higher amounts of 4-5+" concentrated mainly within the Adams/northwestern Nuckolls and southwestern Clay counties. In fact, Hastings set a new record for highest daily rainfall for ANY day in October, which is detailed in this story. Put another way, some locations received one to two months' worth of rainfall in only a few hours! In sharp contrast, many western and southern counties within the local area, including North Central Kansas, received little, if any, rain from this event.

Of even greater significance, however, was the incredible amount of rain that fell mainly between 4pm-9pm on Oct. 2nd within a small portion of southeastern Greeley County north of Wolbach. Although ground-truth measured rainfall from actual gauges was limited, one observer five miles northwest of Wolbach reported 8.46", and based on radar estimation, it is quite possible that areas roughly 4-8 miles northeast of Wolbach might have had even higher amounts. However, one of the weaknesses of radar estimation is that energy returned to the radar behaves differently for hail. So, the radar algorithms over-estimate rainfall where hail falls. That is clearly visible in the first image below across southeastern Greeley County. Although there were undoubtedly numerous localized areas that experienced short-term flooding issues from this event, flooding reports received by NWS Hastings were fairly limited. However, a few notable reports included water running across several county roads in southeastern Greeley County, and also water up to the hood of a vehicle on Highway 92 east of Ashton in Sherman County. 

In terms of severe weather, most areas affected by these storms only saw heavy rainfall and very small hail, but the initial storms during the afternoon and early evening north of I-80 produced large hail ranging from quarter to golf ball size, with a few specific locations reporting this larger hail including 5 miles north-northeast of Wolbach, 4 miles S of Greeley, 5 miles NE of Scotia and 6 miles NW of Elba. 

Please refer to the images below as a reference to rainfall totals across the area as a whole.  However, the following table contains several of the highest "official" rainfall totals as reported by Nebraska Rainfall Assessment and Information Network (NeRAIN) observers, along with the automated ASOS at Hastings Municipal Airport: 

Location Oct. 2-3, 2013 Rainfall Totals
(During the 24 hours ending
around 7am on the 3rd)
Wolbach 5 NW 8.46"
Juniata 1.5 S 6.35"
Juniata 6 SSW 5.92"
Hastings 5.4 WSW 5.40"
Deweese 4.8 SSE 5.12"
Nelson 6.3 N 4.96"
Trumbull 2.3 S  4.75"
Hastings 2.8 SE 4.32"
Lawrence 3.5 ENE 4.29"
Hastings airport  4.13"
Davenport 3.93"




Radar loop of severe thunderstorms and heavy rain across the area.

Radar valid from 4:15 pm on October 2, 2013 until 7:00 AM on October 3, 2013.


The map below indicates 24 hour rainfall totals as of approximately 7 am, October 3, 2013.




This page was composed by the staff at the National Weather Service in Hastings, Nebraska.


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