Warming and more rainfall as May comes to an end

KIMBALL, Neb. – Air temperatures warmed considerably over the last week, boosting plant growth around Kimball and across the tri-state region. Average daily temperatures warmed by about 10 degrees across the Nebraska Panhandle and were slightly warmer than the long-term average for the month.

Another slow-moving weather front stalled over the region during the last half of the Memorial Day weekend, delivering moderate widespread moisture on Sunday and Monday, May 27-28.

Farmers were generally able to get into the field for most of the week before idling equipment as the rains began on Sunday.

Warmth and moisture gave spring planted crops a nice boost and winter wheat fields continued to recover from a rather harsh winter.

Cattle have mostly been turned into summer pasture across the region and are finding excellent browse in abundant cool season grasses.

Regional Forecast and Conditions

As of Tuesday morning, the temperature at sunrise was 46 degrees under partly cloudy skies. Winds were westerly at 3 mph and the barometer was steady at 29.94 inches of mercury (in/Hg).

Today’s weather (Friday) is expected to be mostly sunny and warm with a slight chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms. The temperature is expected to peak at 84 degrees before falling off to an overnight low of 47. Saturday and Sunday are expected to be slightly cooler and sunny with a slight chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Daytime highs should range in the upper-70’s to low 80’s with overnight lows falling into the upper 40’s.

Monday through Wednesday are expected to remain sunny and slightly warmer with a continued chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Daytime air temperatures should range in the mid-80’s with overnight lows falling into the upper-40’s to low 50’s.

Air temperatures warmed nicely across the region last week. At 13 selected stations across the Panhandle 24-hour temperatures averaged 67 degrees. At Kimball the May 22-28 daytime high averaged 79 degrees, about 10 degrees warmer than the previous week. The weekly high temperature was 87 degrees on May 26. Overnight lows warmed also, averaging 50.42 degrees at Kimball, about 7 degrees warmer than the previous week. The weekly low temperature was 46 degrees on May 24. The weekly mean temperature at Kimball was 64.71 degrees, about 9 degrees warmer than the previous week, and about 9 degrees warmer than the May average of 55.0 degrees. The long-term average high and low temperatures at Kimball for May are 69.3 and 40.7, respectively, while the long-term average high and low temperatures at Kimball for June are 80.3 and 50.1, respectively.

All 13 selected Panhandle stations reported rain over the May 22-28 period. Rainfall totals ranged from 2.01 inches at Scottsbluff to 0.10 inches at Hemingford. Across the Panhandle snowfall averaged zero inches and rainfall averaged 0.96 inches. Last week’s averages were zero inches and 2.33 inches respectively.
Soil temperatures warmed again across the Panhandle over the May 22-28 period: (this week/last week/change): Alliance 68.3/59.6 (+8.7) degrees; Gordon 67.9/60.8 (+7.1) degrees; Mitchell 63.8/58.6 (+5.2) degrees; Scottsbluff 63.8/63.2 (+0.6); and Sidney 69.3/65.2 (+4.1) degrees.

Winds near Kimball averaged south-southwesterly and mostly light, except for winds associated with thunderstorm activity, over the May 22-28 period. Gusts for the week averaged 28 mph. High gust for the week was 44 mph on May 27.

June 1 Weather Almanac

Here’s an overview of temperature and precipitation highs, lows, and averages over the preceding 125 years at Kimball. Data is taken from the High Plains Regional Climate Center (www.hprcc.unl.edu), where you can easily find and track data for your own particular location.

Last year: Daily high temperature 81 degrees, overnight low 48 degrees, average temperature 64.5 degrees. Precipitation zero inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth zero inches.

The warmest June 1 on record was 92 degrees in 2002. The coolest June 1 high temperature was 45 degrees in 1951. The coldest June 1 overnight low was 33 degrees in 2006. The warmest June 1 overnight low was 60 degrees in 1905. Over the years since 1893 the high temperature on June 1 has averaged 72 degrees, the overnight low 46 degrees, the daily average 59.3 degrees, precipitation has averaged 0.11 inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth zero inches.

The highest June 1 precipitation total was 1.10 inches liquid equivalent (rain) in 1994. The greatest snowfall was a trace in 1919 and 1951. Greatest snow depth was zero inches.

Snow has fallen on June 1 at Kimball 2 times over the last 125 years, with a trace falling in 1919 and 1951.

U.S. Drought Monitor

National Summary: The active weather pattern persisted across most of the nation, though unfavorably dry, hot weather lingered over parts of the South and Southwest. Areas of heavy to excessive rainfall provided widespread drought relief across the central and southern Atlantic Coast States and from Texas northward into Montana and the Dakotas. Conversely, short-term dryness intensified along the central Gulf Coast, while worsening drought conditions were noted in portions of Arizona and Oregon. Likewise, short-term dryness continued to develop in parts of New England.

High Plains: The overall trend toward improving conditions in the south contrasting with increasingly dry weather in the far north continued, though some northerly areas benefited from locally heavy rain.

In southern Kansas, another week with moderate to locally heavy showers (1-3 inches, as high as 3.72 inches in Longton) led to widespread reductions of drought intensity and coverage. Nevertheless, 6-month precipitation in the state’s lingering Extreme Drought (D3) was less than half of normal, while the Exceptional Drought (D4) in the state’s southwestern corner stood at less than one third of normal over the same time period.

Moderate to heavy rainfall (locally more than 3 inches) in northeastern Colorado likewise trimmed the coverage of Abnormal Dryness (D0).

In south-central Nebraska and north-central Kansas, heavy rain (2-3 inches) yielded a corresponding reduction of D0. In southeastern Nebraska, increasingly dry conditions over the past 90 days (40-60 percent of normal) led to a modest increase of Moderate Drought (D1) southwest of Lincoln.

Farther north, sharply wetter conditions between Bismarck, North Dakota, and Aberdeen, South Dakota, (6.17 inches in Java, South Dakota) resulted in a considerable reduction of D0. D1 and D2 were increased somewhat in North Dakota from Bismarck to the Canadian border, where 60-day rainfall shortfalls (locally less than 30 percent of normal) have added to the region’s lingering long-term drought.

Beneficial rain (1-2 inches) was also reported in northeastern Montana, where D0 was reduced accordingly.

West: Outside of beneficial rain in eastern-most portions of the region, lackluster water-year precipitation and unusual warmth have led to increasing drought despite the cool wet season having drawn to a close.

Beneficial rain was reported during the period in northeastern portions of Montana and Colorado, resulting in reductions of Abnormal Dryness (D0) and as well as Moderate (D1) and Severe (D2) Drought. However, the overarching theme in the West continued to be the ongoing and intensifying drought in the lower Four Corners as well as the interior Northwest.

In the interior Northwest, Moderate and Severe Drought (D1-D2) were expanded over much of Oregon’s Harney Basin to reflect a sub-par water year (50-75 percent-of-normal precipitation, or 10-25th percentile) as well as protracted dryness over the past 60 days (less than half of normal).

Farther south, Extreme (D3) and Exceptional (D4) Drought were expanded over Arizona. The numbers from the Four Corners Region as a whole tell a dire story, with water-year precipitation totaling a meager 10 to 30 percent of normal in the hardest-hit areas; the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), which puts these values in a drought-intensity equivalent, are D3- and D4-equivalent over much of central and northeastern Arizona. A sub-par snowpack and above-normal temperatures have left little water available through snowmelt. Furthermore, the satellite-derived Vegetation Health Index (VHI) — which incorporates both vegetation greenness and thermal stress — shows extremely poor conditions over most of Arizona as well as neighboring portions of southern California and southern New Mexico. This region will be in need of a robust Southwest Monsoon beginning in early July to help offset the impacts brought on by this season’s Extreme to Exceptional Drought in the lower Four Corners Region.

Conditions and Weather Report

No report available at press time.

Weekly Weather and Crop Reports


(May 29) Planting activities kept pace with the average last week amidst mixed weather, including above normal temperatures and isolated thunderstorms in areas.

In northwestern counties, reporters noted rangeland was in mostly fair to good condition and that livestock were being turned out for the summer. Water was noted to be started on irrigated meadows.

Northeastern counties received locally heavy rain that delayed fieldwork slightly. Reporter comments noted pasture and dryland crop conditions continued to improve from received moisture and that several producers were able to finish planting corn last week.

In east central counties, scattered moisture and locally severe weather was reported. A reporter noted some producers sprayed for Russian wheat aphid last week. Another comment noted pasture conditions declined where no moisture was received.

Southwestern county reporters noted producers continued to sell off livestock in response to dire drought conditions. A reporter mentioned moisture from isolated storms helped improve topsoil moisture but was not enough to improve overall crop or rangeland conditions.

In the San Luis Valley, potato planting was nearing completion. A reporter noted the alfalfa crop was very uneven in places with fields continuing to be evaluated for replacement. Hay supplies were noted to be short and difficult to find. Some areas received a little moisture early last week.

Southeastern counties saw some measurable precipitation last week, but reporters noted conditions remained dry and spring crops were not emerging without irrigation.

As of May 29, snowpack in Colorado was 29 percent measured as percent of median snowfall. The Southwest and San Luis Valley were 3 and 2 percent, respectively.

Stored feed supplies were rated 8 percent very short, 19 percent short, 71 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus.

Sheep death loss was 45 percent average and 55 percent light. Cattle death loss was 71 percent average and 29 percent light.


No report available at press time due to Memorial Day holiday.


Wyoming experienced above normal temperatures for the week. Thirty-two of the 33 reporting stations reported above average temperatures for the week with the high temperature of 91 degrees recorded at Gillette, Torrington, and Wheatland and a low of 29 degrees at Yellowstone.

Above normal moisture was reported at 20 of the 33 reporting stations with one station (Rawlins) reporting no precipitation. Cody reported the most moisture with 1.69 inches.

A reporter from Northwest Wyoming stated that crops are behind due to late spring rains but once they are planted they seem to be coming right up and looking good.

A reporter from North Central Wyoming noted a weevil infestation in alfalfa.

A reporter from Western Wyoming indicated that the rangeland looked good and the irrigation water is holding up.

A reporter from Southwest Wyoming indicated that ranchers were finishing up branding.

A reporter from South Central Wyoming stated that they had a cool week with scattered rain showers. They also indicated that the rains that have occurred have helped but are not enough as they need a good soaking.

Irrigation water supply across Wyoming was rated 2 percent poor, 8 percent fair, 87 percent good, and 3 percent excellent.

Stock water supplies across Wyoming were rated 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 90 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus.


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