Cool and damp for the weekend, more wind and warmth on the way


KIMBALL – Last week was much cooler than the previous week and significantly cooler than the long-term average for April. Unsettled upper air masses continued to shift about causing the barometer to see-saw up and down, contributing to strong and gusty winds across the tri-state region. There was very little precipitation across the south Panhandle of Nebraska, somewhat more in the north Panhandle, and considerably more into the Dakotas.

As we move deeper into spring continued dryness is becoming a significant concern. Although we are slightly ahead on precipitation since January 1 at Kimball, wind and springtime evapotranspiration are rapidly depleting soil moisture. Adequate springtime precipitation will be a must for grassland and dryland crop production, but as always, we’ll have to wait and see what nature provides.

Around the region winter wheat stands are looking mostly okay. Well managed pastures and rangelands continue to green nicely as cool season grasses approach their rapid growth windows. Some farmers are venturing into the field to do spring pre-planting fieldwork. In general calving is going well and cattle are relishing new green grass.

Regional Forecast and Conditions

As of Tuesday morning (April 19), the temperature at sunrise was 30 degrees under overcast skies. Winds were south at 6 mph and the barometer was falling at 29.81 inches of mercury (in/Hg).

Today’s weather (Friday, April 22) is forecast to be mostly sunny and relatively calm early with a northwesterly breeze picking up in the afternoon. The high temperature is expected to top 80. Friday night will be breezy with a chance of showers and a low of about 35. Day length will be 13 hours and 36 minutes, night length 10 hours and 24 minutes.

Saturday is expected to be cloudy and much cooler with the high reaching only about 50. It will be breezy to blustery with a chance of rain before 5 p.m. changing to a chance of snow later in the evening. Blustery conditions will continue through the night with the temperature dropping to about 27.

Sunday is expected to be sunny and slightly warmer with the high reaching about 52 degrees. The overnight low is again expected to fall to about 27.

The Monday-Wednesday forecast predicts mostly clear skies with warming air temperatures and continued breeziness. Daily highs should range in the mid-60’s with the mercury falling into the low 30’s to high 20’s.

At Kimball the April 12-18 daytime high averaged 50.28 degrees, about 4.43 degrees cooler than last week. The weekly high temperature was 59 degrees on Easter Sunday. Overnight lows averaged 15.14 degrees, about 10.57 degrees cooler than last week. The weekly low temperature was 6 degrees on April 14. The weekly mean temperature at Kimball was 32.71 degrees, about 7.5 degrees cooler than last week and 12.49 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 0.7 inches of snow in a rain/snow mix on April 15. Total liquid precipitation for the week was 0.05 inches. 

Winds near Kimball averaged east-southeasterly and were occasionally very windy over the April 12-18 period. Gusts for the week averaged 38.71 mph. High gust for the week was 56 mph on April 12.

Historic climate data

Here’s an overview of April 22 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 22, 2021): Daily high temperature 58 degrees, overnight low 29 degrees, average temperature 43.5 degrees. Precipitation zero inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth zero inches.

The warmest April 22 on record was 90 degrees in 1989. The coolest April 22 high temperature was 30 degrees in 1931. The coldest April 22 overnight low was 16 degrees in 1967. The warmest April 22 overnight low was 49 degrees in 1939. Over the years since 1893 the high temperature on April 22 has averaged 59 degrees, the overnight low 30 degrees, the daily average 44.7 degrees, precipitation has averaged 0.07 inches, snowfall 0.1 inches, snow depth zero inches.

The highest April 22 precipitation total was 1.30 inches (rain) in 1900. Highest snowfall was 8 inches (1.05 liquid) in 1923; highest snow depth was 3 inches in 1984.

USDA Weekly Weather Bulletin

A powerful spring storm delivered significant, late season snow from the Cascades and Sierra Nevada to the northern Plains, stressing livestock in the middle of the calving and lambing season. High winds and blizzard conditions accompanied the snow, especially across the northern Plains, causing substantial travel disruptions.

Farther south, drought conditions worsened across the central and southern Plains and the Southwest, amid windy, dry conditions. At times, winds raised dust and contributed to the rapid spread of several wildfires.

Meanwhile, heavy showers and locally severe thunderstorms swept across the Mississippi Delta and environs, producing widespread rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches or more and causing localized wind and hail damage. Significant rain fell in other areas, including parts of the Midwest and Northeast, although mostly dry weather prevailed along the middle and southern Atlantic Coast.

Warm weather prevailed for much of the week across the South, East, and lower Midwest, boosting temperatures more than 10 degrees above normal across portions of the southern Plains and scattered locations in the middle and northern Atlantic States. In contrast, a harsh cold snap engulfed the northern Plains and the Northwest, holding weekly temperatures at least 10 to 20 degrees below normal from the Cascades to the Dakotas. In fact, chilly weather broadly covered much of the remainder of the western U.S., as well as the upper Midwest.  

USDA Crop Progress Reports

Nebraska: For the week ending April 17, 2022, there were 5.6 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 46% very short, 38% short, 16% adequate, and 0 % surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 41% very short, 42% short, 17% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Field Crops Report: Corn planted was 2%, equal to both last year and the five-year average. Winter wheat condition rated 10% very poor, 17% poor, 46% fair, 25% good, and 2% excellent. Oats planted was 58%, behind 66% last year, but ahead of 49% average. Emerged was 12%, behind 23% last year, and near 14% average.

Wyoming: For the week ending April 17, 2022, Some areas in the north-western portion of Wyoming received over an inch of precipitation. Precipitation levels were mostly below normal in the southern and eastern sections of the state. Winds were strong and temperatures were below normal. In some areas, temperatures were on average as much as 20 degrees below normal. The precipitation that was received did little to alleviate drought conditions. According to the United States Drought Monitor for April 14, 2022, the amount of land rated as abnormally dry was 2.4%, compared to 2.8% last week. Moderate drought was present across 37.7 % of the State, compared to 37.3% last week. Severe drought covered 39.3% of the State, compared to 39.7% last week. Extreme drought covered 20.6% of the State, compared to 20.2% the previous week.

Precipitation received in Goshen County was insufficient. The strong winds quickly depleted soil moisture levels and increased erosion. Some reports were that soil was depleted of moisture at levels one-half inch below the surface.

Moisture was also insufficient in Lincoln County. Mountain snowpack was low and irrigation levels were too low for crop production. Farm sheep producers had finished lambing and range flocks were expected to lamb in May. Shearing was expected to begin within the next couple of weeks. New-born kid goats were dying soon after birth due to low iodine levels.

In Weston County, strong winds and colder temperatures caused substantial calf losses. Predator attacks were also high.

Across the state, barley planted jumped to 69% complete compared to 40% last week. Sugarbeets planted stood at 10% complete compared to 5% last week.

Hay and roughage supplies were 16% very short, 51% short, 31% adequate, and 2% surplus compared to 18% very short, 48% short, and 34 % adequate last week.

Stock water supplies were 10% very short, 22% short, 65% adequate, and 3% surplus compared to 19% very short, 23% short, and 58% adequate last week.

Irrigation water supplies were rated 1% very poor, 37% poor, 46% fair, and 16% good compared to 46% poor, 37% fair, and 17% good last week. 

Cattle death loss was 1% heavy, 63% average, and 36% light. Sheep death loss was 1% heavy 62% average, and 37% light.

Colorado: For the week ending April 17, 2022, windy conditions and minimal moisture were observed across most of the State. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 83% of the State is under drought conditions, unchanged from last week. Thirty-two percent of the state is experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions, and extreme drought conditions are affecting 4% of the state, both unchanged from the previous week.

In northeastern and east central counties, extremely windy conditions and a late hard freeze continued to worsen winter wheat conditions.

Southwestern counties were affected by strong winds and minimal moisture last week. A reporter noted that late freezing temperatures continue to affect the fruit crop in bloom. Irrigation water has been turned on, and a reporter noted producers are preparing fields for planting.

In the San Luis Valley, barley planting continues through windy conditions, and irrigation has begun. A reporter noted soil temperatures are still cold and potato seed planting is likely to start this week.

The southeastern counties remained primarily dry, and windy conditions persisted, further depleting crop and range conditions. A reporter noted winter wheat harvest is looking bleak, as conditions continue downward due to lack of moisture and wind.

Overall, calving and lambing continued with few issues, with 81% of cows calved and 76% of ewes lambed, both behind the previous year and the 5-year average.

As of April 17, 2022, snowpack in Colorado was 91% measured as percent  of median snowfall, up 10 percentage points from the previous week. The Southwest and San Luis Valley were 80 and 65%, respectively. Stored feed supplies were rated 11% very short, 27% short, and 62% adequate.

Sheep death loss was 75% average and 25% light. Cattle death loss was 1% heavy, 84% average, and 15% 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 2, 2022) A series of storms dropped moderate to heavy precipitation on much of the eastern half of the country, with 3 to locally 6 inches of rain falling on a swath from central Alabama to central South Carolina, near the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers confluence, areas from the Delmarva Peninsula to southeastern New York state, and portions of the Cascades and coastal areas in Washington and portions of Oregon. Temperatures did not average far from normal except in the southwestern and northeastern parts of the country. In addition, episodes of low humidity and strong winds worsened dryness across much of the Plains and adjacent Rockies.

High Plains: An inch or two of precipitation fell on northwestern South Dakota, a small part of eastern North Dakota, and the highest elevations of north-central Colorado. Elsewhere, a few areas of 0.5 to 1.0 inch was observed in parts of the central and southern Dakotas, northwestern Nebraska, and several swaths scattered across Wyoming. A few tenths of an inch, at best, fell elsewhere. Dryness and drought cover a large majority of the High Plains Region; only the east-central and northeastern Dakotas and eastern Kansas are free of any significant dryness. D2 to D3 cover central and western parts of the Region, including all of Wyoming, Colorado, and most of Nebraska. Slow intensification and expansion has been noted across many areas over the past several months, and D3 expanded to cover additional portions of north-central Wyoming, central Nebraska, and an area near the western Kansas/Nebraska border. Elsewhere, few changes were introduced. Recently, strong winds and low humidity have made dryness more acute, especially in southern parts of the Region.

Near-term forecast: The 6-10 day outlook favors below-normal temperatures lingering across the northern Great Plains and most locations from the Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic Coast. The northern Intermountain West, Pacific Northwest, and northern two-thirds of California are also expected to average colder than normal. Meanwhile, odds favor warmer than normal conditions across most of the Plains, Rockies, Great Basin, and Southwest. New Mexico, eastern Colorado, and adjacent areas have the best odds for above-normal temperatures. 

Above-normal precipitation is expected in New England, southwestern Texas and adjacent New Mexico, the upper Mississippi Valley, the northern Plains, and most places in and west of the Rockies outside the Southwest. 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.

© 2022-Business Farmer

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