KIMBALL – Unsettled air and rapidly moving weather fronts brought windy conditions and scattered light snow and rain to the tri-state region last week. Friday and Saturday were quite pleasant but increasing winds brought cooler air from the north. By Wednesday morning air temperatures had plunged to 10 degrees at Kimball.
Spring greenup continued apace across the region. In Kimball County moisture from January’s heavy snow was providing the initial soil moisture for greenup, however drying winds and evapotranspiration will quickly deplete the available moisture, and spring precipitation will certainly be needed to fend off another dry year.
Winter wheat stands in and around Kimball are greening nicely but are quite spotty in places. It appears that there was significant winter kill in some areas.
Sedges and cool season grasses were coming along nicely across well managed pastures and rangelands. Cattle were grazing new grass as calving continued.
Looking ahead forecasters predict continued cool and windy weather for the next week or so with a chance of scattered rain and snow across the region.
Regional Forecast and Conditions
As of Tuesday morning (April 12), the temperature at sunrise was 38 degrees under overcast skies. Winds were northwest at 20 gusting 25 mph and the barometer was sharply down at 29.26 inches of mercury (in/Hg).
Today’s weather (Friday, April 15) is forecast to be mostly sunny and relatively calm with a high temperature of about 55 degrees and an overnight low of about 26. Day length will be 13 hours and 18 minutes, night length 10 hours and 42 minutes.
Saturday is expected to be sunny and breezy with a high of about 56 and an overnight low of about 34.
On Sunday the daily high should approach 61 degrees under mostly sunny skies. There is a chance of showers forecast for the afternoon. Overnight lows are expected to fall to about 28 degrees with partly cloudy skies and blustery conditions.
The Monday-Wednesday forecast predicts clearing skies with a chance of rain and snow. A warming trend should push daytime highs into the mid-50’s to mid-60’s and overnight lows will fall to near the freezing mark.
At Kimball the April 5-11 daytime high averaged 54.71 degrees, about 1 degree warmer than last week. The weekly high temperature was 73 degrees on April 9. Overnight lows averaged 25.71 degrees, about 2.71 degrees warmer than last week. The weekly low temperature was 17 degrees on April 8. The weekly mean temperature at Kimball was 40.21 degrees, about 1.86 degrees warmer than last week and 4.99 degrees cooler than the April average of 45.2 degrees. The long term average high and low temperatures at Kimball for April are 59.6 and 30.9 respectively.
Kimball received 0.1 inches of snow on April 5 (0.01 liquid) and 0.375 inches of rain on April 9. Total liquid precipitation for the week was 0.385 inches.
Winds near Kimball averaged west-southwesterly and were occasionally very windy over the April 5-11 period. Gusts for the week averaged 46.85 mph. High gust for the week was 60 mph on April 7 and 10.
Historic climate data
Here’s an overview of April 15 temperature and precipitation highs, lows, and averages over the preceding 129 years at Kimball. Data is taken from the High Plains Regional Climate Center (www.hprcc.unl.edu), where you can find and track data for your own particular location.
Last year (April 15, 2021): Daily high temperature 33 degrees, overnight low 29 degrees, average temperature 31 degrees. Precipitation 0.5 inches, snowfall 5.2 inches, snow
depth 4 inches.
The warmest April 15 on record was 83 degrees in 2002. The coolest April 15 high temperature was 29 degrees in 1904. The coldest April 15 overnight low was 14 degrees in 2014. The warmest April 15 overnight low was 49 degrees in 1958. Over the years since 1893 the high temperature on April 15 has averaged 57.7 degrees, the overnight low 28.6 degrees, the daily average 43.1 degrees, precipitation has averaged 0.06 inches, snowfall 0.1 inches, snow depth zero inches.
The highest April 15 precipitation total was 1.16 inches (rain) in 1900. Highest snowfall was 3 inches in 1901; highest snow depth was 5 inches in 1945.
USDA Weekly Weather Bulletin, April 12
Much of the eastern half of the nation received substantial precipitation, with weekly totals ranging from 2 to 4 inches or more in parts of the South and Northeast. Severe thunderstorms accompanied the Southern showers; several dozen tornadoes were spotted on April 4-6 from northeastern Texas to the southern Atlantic Coast. Meanwhile, rain and snow showers were common across the Midwest, although significant snow accumulations were generally confined to the upper Great Lakes region. The cool, showery Midwestern weather limited spring fieldwork, especially in wetter areas across the eastern Corn Belt. Elsewhere, mostly dry weather prevailed from the West Coast to the High Plains, except in the Pacific Northwest. In California and environs, a second heat wave in 3 weeks led to further reductions in high-elevation snowpack and resulted in unusually heavy irrigation demands so early in the year. California’s early-season heat boosted weekly temperatures at least 10 degrees above normal in a few locations. Near- or above normal temperatures were also prevalent across the Plains, Deep South, and Atlantic Coast States. In contrast, readings averaged more than 5 degrees below normal in some Midwestern locations. Near- or below-normal temperatures were common across the Northwest, which experienced cooler weather as the week progressed.
USDA Crop Progress Reports, April 11
Nebraska -- For the week ending April 10, 2022, there were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 41 percent very short, 39 percent short, 20 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 37 percent very short, 45 percent short, 18 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus.
Winter wheat condition rated 8 percent very poor, 14 percent poor, 46 percent fair, 29 percent
good, and 3 percent excellent. Oats planted was 44 percent, ahead of 37 percent last year and 28 percent for the five-year average. Emerged was 6 percent, near 7 percent last year and 4 percent average.
Wyoming -- For the week ending April 10, 2022, Precipitation once again remained below normal for the majority of Wyoming. Temperatures were also below normal. In isolated areas, temperatures ran 5 degrees below average.
According to the April 7 U.S. Drought Monitor the amount of land rated as abnormally dry was 2.8 percent, unchanged from last week. Moderate drought was present across 37.3 percent of the State, an increase from 36.3 percent last week. Severe drought covered 39.7 percent of the State, compared to 40.9 percent last week. Extreme drought conditions covered 20.2 percent of the State, up from 20.0 percent the previous week.
Conditions remained dry and cold in Lincoln County.
Strong winds depleted topsoil moisture in Goshen County and kept farmers from completing field activities.
Hay and roughage supplies for Wyoming were rated 18 percent very short, 48 percent short, and 34 percent adequate compared to 22 percent very short, 39 percent short, 38 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus last week.
Stock water supplies across Wyoming were rated 19 percent very short, 23 percent short, and 58 percent adequate compared to 10 percent very short, 29 percent short, 60 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus last week.
Irrigation water supplies were rated 46 percent poor, 37 percent fair, and 17 percent good compared to 4 percent very poor, 41 percent poor, 42 percent fair, and 13 percent good last week.
Cattle death loss was rated as 1 percent heavy, 66 percent average, and 33 percent light. Sheep death loss was rated as 1 percent heavy, 63 percent average, and 36 percent light.
Colorado -- For the week ending April 10, 2022, warm temperatures and extreme wind were experienced across most of the State.
According to the April 7 U.S. Drought Monitor, 83 percent of the State is under drought conditions, unchanged from last week. Thirty-two percent of the State is experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions, down two percentage points from last week. Extreme drought conditions are affecting 4 percent of the State, down 3 percentage points from the previous week.
In northeastern and east central counties, extremely windy conditions decreased soil moisture and prevented significant fieldwork. A reporter noted the extreme winds eroded the soil and likely damaged the winter wheat crop.
Southwestern counties received minimal moisture last week, but freezing temperatures may have affected the fruit crop in bloom. Grazing pastures are starting to green up, and a reporter noted producers are starting to prepare fields for planting.
In the San Luis Valley, cool temperatures and windy conditions minimally affected barley planting. A reporter noted that livestock are in good condition as pastures begin to green up for the grazing season.
The southeastern counties remained primarily dry, and windy conditions persisted.
Overall, calving and lambing continued with few issues, with 73 percent of cows calved and 65 percent of ewes lambed, both behind the previous year and the 5-year average.
As of April 10, 2022, snowpack in Colorado was 88 percent measured as percent of median snowfall, down 3 percentage points from the previous week. The Southwest and San Luis Valley were 85 and 89 percent, respectively.
Stored feed supplies were rated 11 percent very short, 35 percent short, 52 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus.
Sheep death loss was 64 percent average and 36 percent light. Cattle death loss was 1 percent heavy, 73 percent average, and 26 percent light.
U.S. Drought Monitor
USDM reports derive normals/averages from the most recent 30 year period, though longer timescale data are used where available. The USDM generally reports on current drought conditions and offers a comprehensive history of drought across the Continental U.S. Nearterm temperature and precipitation predictions derive from National Weather Service (NWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts.
Current drought status for the Nebraska Panhandle, Southwest Wyoming, and Northeast Colorado. Drought Categories: D0 -- abnormally dry. D1 -- moderate drought. D2 -- severe drought. D3 -- extreme drought. D4 -- exceptional drought.
(April 5, 2022) April began with heavy rains in parts of the Midwest, South, and Southeast leading to large areas of drought improvement in these regions. Meanwhile, drought expanded and intensified in the West with many locations setting records for the driest prior 3-month period (January to March). The High Plains remained largely unchanged this week with small pockets of improvements and degradations.
High Plains: South-central Colorado saw a reduction in severe (D2) and extreme (D3) drought. Last week’s precipitation continued a trend of wetter-than-normal conditions that’s been in place since the start of the year. Short- and long-term indicators including precipitation, snowpack, soil moisture, and stream flow are responding to the excess moisture. Severe drought also decreased in southwest Wyoming for similar reasons.
Kansas saw drought worsen in the west and improve in the east. D3 expanded in southwest Kansas, where precipitation deficits are less than 10 percent of normal over the last 60 to 90 days. Other indicators supporting this assessment include increased evaporative demand and soil moisture. In eastern Kansas, the map depicts a continuation of improvements made last week.
In south-central Nebraska, moderate drought expanded in response to increasing precipitation deficits, dry soil moisture indicators, and reports of low stock ponds. The rest of the region remained unchanged this week. State drought monitoring teams have all noted the increasing dryness across the region.
West: Parts of the Northwest saw a healthy dose of precipitation and mountain snow during the past week. In most cases, this precipitation fell over areas free from drought or simply wasn’t enough to bring relief to drought impacted areas. Only southwest Oregon saw improvement with a small decline in moderate drought (D1). Oregon also saw an expansion of drought of severe (D2) and extreme (D3) drought. Water-year-to-date (October 1 to April 5) precipitation fell short and warmer-than-normal temperatures caused rapid and early melt out to the state’s snowpack. Soil moisture and shallow groundwater indicators are reflecting the worsening conditions. In the southeast part of the state, the drought monitoring team noted impacts including extremely dry soil conditions, a lack of surface water, and poor pasture forage conditions.
Central Washington, Idaho, and northwest Montana also saw increases in drought extent or severity as short-term dryness continues to build upon long-term moisture deficits extending back to last year. Many parts of southern Idaho, and the rest of the West, have set records for the driest 3-month period (January to March) going back 100 years or more. Meanwhile near record warmth increased evaporative demand from plants and soils.
Farther south, extreme drought (D3) expanded in parts of California, Nevada, and New Mexico while moderate (D1) and severe (D2) drought expanded across Arizona. In California, Cooperative Extension reports impacts to agriculture including reduced forage, livestock stress, decreased water allocation, and the selling livestock earlier than normal. Data such as reduced stream flows and declines in satellite-based vegetation health and soil moisture indicators confirm these reports.
Near-term forecast: The 6-10 day outlook favors below normal temperatures over much of the western and central U.S. and Alaska. Above normal temperatures are predicted over the east and west coasts. Near to above normal precipitation is favored for the Central Rockies eastward. Below normal precipitation is favored over California, Nevada, southeastern New Mexico, and southwestern Texas.
Terminology: EDDI -- Evaporative Demand Drought Index. This is an experimental model for drought prediction, using nationwide data from 1980-present. SPE -- Standardized Precipitation index, correlating present month/year precipitation with 30-plus year historical data. SPEI -- Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index. SWE -- Snow Water Equivalent.
For more information on the U.S. Drought Monitor, including an explanation of terminology, visit: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu.