Spring rains continue across region

KIMBALL, Neb. – Continued light rain and drizzle kept farmers out of the field over the last week. Some precipitation fell in Kimball County on five of the seven days between March 28 and April 3, ranging from 0.01 inches to 0.63 inches south of I-80 and from 0.02 inches to 2.00 inches north of I-80. Some of the precipitation came in the form of snow but there was little or no accumulation. March 29 and April 2 were clear and sunny and without precipitation.
While temperatures varied from near-freezing to more than 60 degrees and skies were mostly cloudy, early-season plant growth accelerated. Across the prairie on pastures and rangeland a strong hint of green was beginning to show through last year’s dry grass. Winter annual and cool season perennial grasses were really taking off and warm season grasses were greening as well.
Winter wheat continued to grow apace and some embryonic wheat heads were beginning to form below the soil. Volunteer wheat and volunteer millet were showing abundantly in stubble fields, particularly those that were hailed last summer.
Cattle appeared to be enjoying a diet of fresh green grass after months of hay and dried forage.

Regional Forecast and Conditions
As this is written on Tuesday morning (April 4) a cold front is lingering across the region with coolish, drizzly conditions dominating along with occasional rain showers. The front was expected to move out by Wednesday, ushering in warming and sunny conditions Thursday through Saturday. On Sunday, however, forecasters anticipate the arrival of another slow-moving weather front which is likely to bring cooler temperatures, cloudy skies, and more precipitation. Clear skies and sunshine should result in daytime temperatures reaching into the 70’s Friday and Saturday with overnight lows falling into the mid-30’s to mid-40’s. Sunday through Wednesday is expected to be cooler, with cloudy skies and breeziness and daytime highs topping out in the 50’s. Overnight lows Sunday through Wednesday are forecast to fall to near freezing. Chance of precipitation across the region through Wednesday is said to be slight.
Air temperatures cooled again across the region last week. At Kimball the March 28-April 3 daytime high averaged 51.42 degrees, about 10 degrees cooler than the previous week. The weekly high temperature was 63 degrees on March 30. Overnight lows averaged 33.71 degrees, about 3 degrees warmer than the previous week. The weekly low temperature was 32 degrees on March 30 and April 2. The weekly mean temperature was 42.57 degrees, about 4.5 degrees cooler than the previous week and about 6 degrees warmer than the March average of 36.0 degrees. The long term average high and low temperatures for March at Kimball are 49.8 and 22.2 degrees, respectively, and for April, 59.6 and 30.9 degrees, respectively.
All 13 Panhandle stations reported precipitation over the March 28-April 3 period, ranging from 2.69 inches at Alliance to 0.59 inches at Sidney 3 S. Panhandle precipitation averaged 1.52 inches for the week, compared to the 30-year average of 0.34 inches. Since October 1, 2016, Panhandle precipitation stands at 110 percent of the 30-year average, ranging from 201 percent at Alliance to 50 percent at Sidney 3 S.
Soil temperatures ranged from 4.4 degrees lower to 1 degree higher than the previous week across the Panhandle for the March 28-April 3 period. April 3 soil temperatures (this week/last week/change): Alliance 44.4/44.0 (+0.4) degrees; Gordon 45.6/44.6 (+1.0) degrees; Mitchell 46.6/46.9 (-0.3) degrees; and Sidney 45.2/49.6 (-4.4) degrees.
Winds near Kimball averaged south-southeasterly and mostly mild over the March 28-April 3 period. Gusts for the week averaged 22.42 mph. High gust for the week was 39 mph on April 3.

April 7 Weather Almanac
Last year (April 7, 2016): Daily high temperature 68 degrees, overnight low 33 degrees, average temperature 50.5 degrees. Precipitation 0.00 inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth
zero inches.
The warmest April 7 on record was 83 degrees in 1991. The coolest April 7 high temperature was 24 degrees in 1938. The coldest April 7 overnight low was 6 degrees in 1983. The warmest April 7 overnight low was 45 degrees in 1963. Over the years since 1893 the high temperature on April 7 has averaged 55 degrees, the overnight low 23 degrees, the daily average 41.5 degrees, precipitation has averaged 0.04 inches, snowfall 0.2 inches, snow depth zero inches.
The highest April 7 precipitation recorded over the last 123 years was 0.95 inches in 1906.
Snow has fallen on April 7 at Kimball 20 times over the last 123 years. The greatest April 7 snowfall was 6.0 inches in 1957. Measurable April 7 snow depth was reported in 19 of the last 123 years. The greatest April 7 snow depth was 5.0 inches
in 1957.

March weather almanac
Average 7 a.m. conditions: temperature 21.45 degrees, winds south-southwesterly at 5.39 mph, barometer 29.92.
Average daily high temperature 60.0 degrees (123 year average 49.8). Average daily low temperature 29.93 degrees (123YA 22.2). Daily average temperature 44.96 degrees (123YA 36.0). Total liquid precipitation 1.11 inches (123YA 1.03). Year to date (YTD) precipitation 2.24 inches (123YA 1.87). Total snowfall 0.0 inches (123YA 8.7). YTD snow 14.8 inches (123YA 19.3).
Departures: Daily High, +10.2 degrees; Daily Low, +7.3 degrees; Daily Average, +8.96 degrees; Total Liquid Precipitation, +0.08 inches; YTD precipitation +0.37 inches. Total Snow, -8.7 inches. YTD snow
-4.5 inches.

U.S. Drought Monitor
(March 28) Central and southern Plains: Locally heavy precipitation in western- and eastern-most portions of the region afforded some drought relief, while mostly dry weather prevailed during the period elsewhere. Moderate to heavy rain and wet snow (1-3 inches, liquid equivalent) led to reductions in Abnormal Dryness (D0) as well as Moderate to Severe Drought (D1 and D2) from central Colorado northeastward into central Nebraska. A secondary precipitation maximum (1-4 inches) likewise led to reductions of D0 and D1 across eastern Kansas.
National Summary: During the seven-day period ending April 5, renewed Pacific storminess brought increasingly wet, mild weather to a large swath of the country. Precipitation was heaviest from the central and northern Pacific Coast into the central and northern Rockies, while a secondary area of locally heavy rain and wet snow developed over the central High Plains and environs. Farther east, an influx of Gulf moisture led to widespread moderate to heavy rain from the lower and middle Mississippi Valley into the interior Southeast, while somewhat lighter precipitation was observed across the Midwest (mostly rain) and New England (wintry mix). As a result, widespread reductions in drought intensity and coverage were made where the heaviest precipitation fell, although the lower Southeast (including Florida) remained unfavorably dry.
For more information on the U.S. Drought Monitor visit: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu

U.S. Conditions and Weather Report
(April 4) Three discrete storms crossed the nation, contributing to widespread cloudiness and precipitation.
Some of the heaviest rain fell across previously dry sections of the central and southern Plains, easing the wildfire threat and benefiting rangeland, pastures, and winter wheat.
Several rounds of rain also affected the central and eastern Corn Belt, halting fieldwork but helping to boost soil moisture in preparation for spring planting.
However, each of the weather systems also sparked severe thunderstorms, featuring local wind and hail damage and isolated tornadoes, primarily from the central and southern Plains into the mid-South and lower Midwest.
Unsettled weather also dominated the western U.S., leading to river rises and local flooding in the Northwest and late-season snow accumulations at higher elevations of the Rockies and Intermountain West.
Despite the clouds and precipitation, generally mild U.S. weather prevailed. Nevertheless, temperatures fell from the previous week’s record-setting levels in the south-central and southwestern U.S. Cold weather lingered in the Northeast, while periods of unusual warmth covered the South.
Temperatures ranged from sub-zero values in parts of northern New England to some readings above 90 degrees in the Desert Southwest.
Elsewhere, showery weather largely bypassed a few regions, including Florida’s peninsula, portions of the northcentral U.S., and areas across the nation’s southern tier from southern California to the lower Rio Grande Valley.

USDA Weekly Weather and Crop Reports
Week ending April 2

Temperatures averaged near normal across Nebraska. Rain at mid-week covered many western and southern counties, halting fieldwork while counties in the north-central region recorded only
limited precipitation.
Topsoil moisture supplies rated 6 percent very short, 19 short, 67 adequate, and 8 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 9 percent very short, 25 short, 64 adequate, and 2 surplus.
Producers continued to monitor calving progress and were waiting for sunshine to dry and warm soils so spring fieldwork
could progress.
There were 2.0 days suitable for fieldwork. Winter wheat condition rated 2 percent very poor, 9 poor, 42 fair, 42 good, and 5 excellent. Oats planted was 28 percent, ahead of 18 last year and 25 for the five-year average.
Cattle and calf conditions rated 0 percent very poor, 0 poor, 17 fair, 71 good, and 12 excellent. Calving progress was 62 percent complete, ahead of 55 last year. Cattle and calf death loss rated 1 percent heavy, 65 average, and 34 light.
Sheep and lamb conditions rated 0 percent very poor, 1 poor, 24 fair, 67 good, and 8 excellent. Sheep and lamb death loss rated 1 percent heavy, 74 average, and 25 light.
Hay and roughage supplies rated 0 percent very short, 4 short, 92 adequate, and
4 surplus.
Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 5 short, 93 adequate, and 1 surplus.

Wyoming experienced warmer than normal temperatures for the week. Thirty-three of the 34 reporting stations reported above normal temperatures with the high temperatures of 67 degrees recorded at Torrington, and a low of 16 degrees at Lake Yellowstone and Shirley Basin. Above normal moisture was recorded at 26 of the 34 stations. Gillette was the only station recording no precipitation and Lander had the most with 3.55 inches.
A reporter from North Central Wyoming indicated that spring rain and snow has prevented planting of barley and other crops and it will probably be another week before they can get in the field. Another reporter from North Central Wyoming reported that calving and lambing are in full swing, they have gotten some rain and snow, but pastures are still behind and hay is short. They also indicated that wheat is 6-8 inches high.
A reporter from Northeast Wyoming indicated that they had gotten some much needed moisture over the past week.
A reporter from Western Wyoming reported that everything is wet and they have gotten a lot of precipitation making lambing and calving tough. They also reported that there is a lot of snow on the surrounding hills, making for possible flooding when it melts.
A reporter from Southwest Wyoming indicated a stormy week with lots
of moisture.
A reporter from South Central Wyoming reported that they have had continued warm and dry conditions and the lack of moisture is a concern for pastures.
A reporter from Southeast Wyoming indicated that they got about an inch of precipitation making for wet pastures and sloppy corral conditions. Another reporter from Southeast Wyoming noted that they got a good soaking rain with little wind and cool temperatures.
Stock water supplies were reported as 7 percent very short, 12 percent short, 67 percent adequate, and 14 percent surplus.

Fieldwork was limited this past week due to considerable moisture received throughout the state. Several counties reported significant moisture, improving fall planted crop and pasture conditions. Reporters noted winter wheat in stressed areas has improved with
received moisture.
Livestock remain in good condition with calving and lambing progressing well so far.
As of April 3, snowpack in Colorado was at 109 percent of average. The Southwest and San Luis Valley were 128 and 114 percent, respectively.
Stored feed supplies were rated 3 percent short, 86 percent adequate, and 11
percent surplus.
Sheep death loss was 31 percent average and 69 percent light. Cattle death loss was 1 percent heavy, 74 percent average, and 25 percent light.

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