July ends cooler and damp as August warmth arrives


KIMBALL – Following nine days of cooler conditions to close out July, warmer temperatures arrived on Aug. 1. At Kimball the mercury touched 95 degrees on a sunny, calm day.

During the previous week shifting atmospheric pressure ridges and a southerly dip in the jet stream brought cooler air and increased precipitation to the tri-state region over the final nine days of July. At Kimball the daily high over the July 1-22 period averaged 92.4 degrees, the daily low 58.5, the daily mean 75.4, and precipitation totaled 1.94 inches. Over the final nine days of the month the daily high averaged 84.1 degrees, the daily low 58.5, the daily mean 71.3, and precipitation totaled 1.09 inches.   

Cooler conditions continued to provide relief from the recent heat wave while monsoonal air flows brought widespread rainfall to the region, refreshing spring-planted crops and boosting warm season grass production.

Winter wheat harvest came to a close across the region last week. No statistics are available yet, but most observers and producers believe yields and quality were better than expected but lower than average due to dry soils at planting, hard freezes in late May, and mostly below-average precipitation during the critical development phases.

Spring-planted crops perked up in many areas with late-July rainfall.

Where rain fell, well managed pastures and rangeland greened up nicely over the last week or so. Cool season grasses had the opportunity to translocate nutrients and energy to root systems while warm season grasses produced nutrient-
dense biomass.

Regional Forecast and Conditions

As of Tuesday morning (August 2), the temperature at sunrise was 62 degrees in light fog and mist. Winds were north at 13 mph and the barometer was steady at 30.07 inches of mercury (in/Hg).

Today’s weather (Friday, August 5) is forecast to be sunny and hot with a high of 97 degrees and a 20% chance of afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Friday night will be mostly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms before midnight and a low of about 62 degrees. Day length will be 14 hours and 14 minutes, night length 9 hours and 46 minutes.

With the arrival of a slow moving weather front, Saturday and Sunday are expected to be mostly sunny and cooler with high temperatures reaching about 86 and a chance of rain and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Overnight lows are expected to fall to about 60.

Monday is expected to be mostly sunny with a high of about 87 and a continued chance of rain and thunderstorms. Monday’s overnight low should fall to about 59 degrees.

As the weather front passes, conditions for the remainder of the week are relatively uncertain.

At Kimball the July 26-August 1 daytime high averaged 85.57 degrees, about 5.57 degrees cooler than last week. The weekly high temperature was 95 degrees on August 1. Overnight lows averaged 58.57 degrees, about 0.43 degrees warmer than last week. The weekly low temperature was 56 degrees on July 30. The weekly mean temperature at Kimball was 72.07 degrees, about 2.57 degrees cooler than last week and 0.27 degrees warmer than the July average of 71.8 degrees. The long term average high and low temperatures at Kimball for July are 87.4 and 56.1, respectively, and for August, 85.9 and 54.2, respectively.

Kimball received 0.40 inches of rain over the July 26-August 1 period from daily thunderstorms July 27-31.
Winds near Kimball averaged southerly and generally mild except when thunderstorms were present during the July 26-August 1 period. Gusts for the week averaged 26.14 mph. High gust for the week was 39 mph on July 27.

July weather almanac

Average 7 a.m. conditions: temperature 64.09 degrees, winds south-southwesterly at 8.54 mph, barometer 30.15 inches of mercury (in/Hg). 

Average daily high temperature 90.09 degrees (129 year average 87.4). Average daily low temperature 58.64 degrees (129YA 56.1). Daily average temperature 74.37 degrees (129YA 71.8). Total liquid precipitation 3.03 inches (129YA 2.55). Year to date (YTD) precipitation 12.58 inches (129YA 11.71). Total snowfall zero inches (129YA zero inches). YTD snow 47.68 inches (129YA 26.4).

Departures: Daily High, +2.68 degrees; Daily Low, +2.54 degrees; Daily Average, +2.57 degrees; Total Liquid Precipitation, +0.48 inches; YTD precipitation +0.87 inches. Total Snow zero inches, YTD snow +21.28 inches.

Historic climate data

Here’s an overview of August 5 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 (August 5, 2021): Daily high temperature 95 degrees, overnight low 58 degrees, average temperature 76.5 degrees. Precipitation trace, snowfall zero inches, snow depth zero inches.

The warmest August 5 on record was 98 degrees in 2000. The coolest August 5 high temperature was 68 degrees in 2005. The coldest August 5 overnight low was 45 degrees in 2012. The warmest August 5 overnight low was 66 degrees in 1970. Over the years since 1893 the high temperature on August 5 has averaged 86 degrees, the overnight low 55 degrees, the daily average 70.4 degrees, precipitation has averaged 0.08 inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth zero inches.

The highest August 5 precipitation total was 1.45 inches (rain) in 2004. Highest snowfall zero inches, highest snow depth zero inches.

USDA Weekly Weather Bulletin, August 2

In late July, catastrophic flooding struck the upper Kentucky River basin in eastern Kentucky, resulting in at least three dozen fatalities, with many more individuals still missing. Kentucky’s flooding occurred shortly after significant flooding hit St. Louis and neighboring communities July 25-26, when 6 to 12 inches of rain fell. Those two hard-hit areas were part of a broad band of locally heavy showers stretching from the Four Corners States to the middle Atlantic Coast, as moisture associated with the Southwestern monsoon circulation was squeezed between a ridge of high pressure over the Deep South and several cold fronts crossing the northern Plains, Midwest, and Northeast.

Outside the band of heavy rain, significant rainfall was scarce. A few cold-frontal showers affected the North, while afternoon thunderstorms stretched from the central Gulf Coast region to Florida. Most other parts of the country experienced dry weather.

In the Pacific Coast States and the Northwest, building heat accompanied dry weather, leading to an increase in wildfire activity, despite favorable conditions for winter wheat harvesting and summer crop maturation. Northwestern weekly temperatures broadly averaged at least 5 to 10 degrees above normal. The southcentral U.S. also noted hot, mostly dry weather, with temperatures locally averaging more than 5 degrees above normal, although rain began to encroach late in the week from the north. Elsewhere, readings averaged as much as 5 degrees below normal in the Southwest, especially in parts of Arizona, as well as scattered locations across the northern and central Plains and western Corn Belt. 

USDA Crop Progress Reports, August 1

Nebraska – For the week ending July 31, 2022, there were 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 31% very short, 39% short, 30% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 30% very short, 39% short, 31% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Corn condition rated 10% very poor, 12% poor, 24% fair, 40% good, and 14% excellent. Corn silking was 84%, behind 95% last year and 90% for the five-year average. Dough was 21%, behind 37% last year and 32% average.

Soybean condition rated 6% very poor, 11% poor, 26% fair, 44% good, and 13% excellent. Soybeans blooming was 85%, behind 94% last year, and near 87% average. Setting pods was 50%, behind 64% last year, and near 54% average.

Winter wheat harvested was 92%, near 94% last year and 88% average.

Sorghum condition rated 8% very poor, 25% poor, 31% fair, 28% good, and 8% excellent. Sorghum headed was 32%, behind 45% both last year and average. Coloring was 2%, near 3% both last year and average.

Oats harvested was 82%, near 86% last year and 84% average.

Dry edible bean condition rated 2% very poor, 7% poor, 28% fair, 53% good, and 10% excellent. Dry edible beans blooming was 68%, behind 77% last year. Setting pods was 19%, well behind 39% last year.

Pasture and range conditions rated 34% very poor, 28% poor, 25% fair, 11% good, and 2% excellent.

Wyoming – For the week ending July 31, 2022, precipitation levels remained below normal for the majority of Wyoming. The majority of the State received rainfall totals from near zero to 0.4 inches. Only isolated areas received totals up to 1.0 inches of moisture. Temperatures varied and ran from 2 to 4 degrees below normal for much of the eastern and southern parts of the State. Sections of the west and northwest, however, saw temperatures as much as 4.0 degrees above average.

Wyoming saw little change to drought conditions. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor the amount of land that was drought free fell slightly to 10.4%, compared to 10.6% the previous week. The amount of land that was abnormally dry stood at 26.7%, a minimal increase from last week’s 26.6%. Moderate drought was found in 37.9% of the state, compared to 37.8% the previous week. Severe drought stood at 17.9%, a drop of 2.0 percentage points from last week. Extreme drought increased to 7.1%, up from last
week’s 5.1%.

Farmers and ranchers were seeing low grass yields in Carbon County. Some producers were pulling livestock from summer grazing lands 3 to 4 weeks early due to the poor forage conditions.

Some fields benefitted from the isolated rains in northern parts of Goshen County, but southern areas remained very dry.

A report from Lincoln County indicated that the continuing hot and dry conditions were causing some fields to dry up and turn yellow. Irrigation water was under regulation and some hay fields lacked the water necessary for a second crop.

A report from Niobrara County echoed the picture in other counties that fields were drying out.

In Platte County, some areas were helped by rain showers. The majority of the county was dry and the need for more moisture was critical. Corn was mostly tasseled out. Irrigation water allocations were cut and the negative effects on fields would be seen during the upcoming weeks.

Irrigation water supplies across the State were rated 5% very poor, 31% poor, 17% fair, and 47% good, compared to 1% very poor, 27% poor, 26% fair, and 46% good last week.

Stock water supplies across Wyoming were rated 6% very short, 43% short, 50% adequate, and 1% surplus, compared to 5% very short, 43% short, 51% adequate, and 1% surplus
last week. 

Colorado – For the week ending July 31, 2022, scattered areas of the state received good moisture last week, while others remained extremely dry.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 79% of the State is under drought conditions, down 3 percentage points from the previous week. Thirty-seven percent of the State is experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions, down three percentage points from last week. Extreme drought conditions are affecting 5% of the State, equal to last week.

In northwestern counties, average temperatures and minimal precipitation were observed last week. Reporters noted that grasshoppers have taken a toll on pasture and rangelands.

In northeastern and east central counties, winter wheat harvest is virtually complete, with yields ranging greatly. Several areas saw below average temperatures, with highs ranging from the mid-70’s to mid-90’s. Areas of Cheyenne and Kiowa Counties experienced temperatures more than 10 degrees below average, providing relief from consistent high temperatures the last several weeks. Lower temperatures and moisture received last week provided a much-needed reprieve yet slowed some crop activity. Yuma County received very beneficial moisture last week, with the southeastern area of the county receiving over three inches of moisture.

In southwestern counties, reporters noted recent precipitation delayed the completion of winter wheat harvest. Southern La Plata County received almost four inches of rain last week, slightly improving drought conditions. Rain has improved pasture and rangeland conditions, which allowed producers to continue grazing livestock.

In the San Luis Valley, scattered rainstorms were widespread last week, with areas of Costilla County receiving over two inches of rain. Reporters note the potato and barley crops continue to develop well. The barley crop is turning color and second cutting of alfalfa is progressing. According to county reports, irrigation water supply continues to be a concern, as aquifer levels continue to drop with the limited moisture.

In southeastern counties, below average temperatures were widespread last week. Northern Bent and Prowers Counties saw temperatures more than 10 degrees below average, while also receiving over an inch of moisture in some areas.

Stored feed supplies were rated 20% very short, 22% short, 54% adequate, and 4% surplus. Sheep death loss was 85% average and 15% light. Cattle death loss was 5% heavy, 80% 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.

(July 26, 2022) Drought persisted across much of the West this week, while flash drought over parts of the Great Plains, Ozarks, and Mississippi Valley continued to intensify and cause agricultural problems. Short-term drought also expanded over parts of the Northeast this week, where deficits in short-term precipitation and streamflows mounted in some areas. Conditions locally improved in parts of the Southwest due to an influx of rainfall from the North American Monsoon. Farther east into the lower Great Plains and Midwest, localized heavy rainfall led to improvements, including severe flooding in the St. Louis Metro area, which previously had been experiencing abnormally dry conditions.

High Plains: With the exception of Colorado (which was mostly warmer than normal) and southern Kansas (which was 4-8 degrees warmer than normal), temperatures in the High Plains region this week were generally within 2-4 degrees of normal. Rainfall from the North American Monsoon occurred in parts of southern, central, and eastern Colorado, locally easing drought conditions in the eastern part of the state. Heavy rains in south-central and southwest South Dakota, and in southern Nebraska, northern Kansas, and east-central Kansas, led to locally improved drought and dryness conditions. Meanwhile, south of the heavier rains, flash drought continued to take hold in southern Kansas, where a combination of dry and hot weather worsened conditions. Extreme drought expanded in parts of southwest Nebraska, where short- and long-term precipitation deficits worsened conditions amid poor crop health. Drought also expanded in northeast Nebraska and southeast South Dakota, where soil moisture deficits continued to mount amid warm temperatures and dry weather. Extreme drought also developed in western Wyoming, where above-normal evaporative demand combined with short-term precipitation deficits to worsen conditions locally.

West: Rainfall from the North American Monsoon over the last few weeks led to some improvements in the drought situation across Arizona and New Mexico, where precipitation deficits lessened. Rain also fell in parts of Nevada, Utah, and eastern California this week. Temperatures were mostly 2-6 degrees above normal in the West region, though scattered areas were within a couple degrees of normal. Precipitation deficit amounts lessened enough for some improvement to ongoing short- and long-term drought in central Montana. Elsewhere, widespread drought continued this week across a large portion of the region.

Near-term forecast: The 6-10 day outlook favors below normal precipitation in the central Great Plains, and to a lesser extent is also favored in parts of the Midwest and eastern Great Lakes. Above normal precipitation and below normal temperatures are favored in much of the western United States.

So far as temperatures go, the prediction is for warmer than normal temperatures over the eastern two-thirds of the contiguous United States, especially in the Middle Missouri River Valley.

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: droughtmonitor.unl.edu.

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