Warmth expected to return following cool spell

KIMBALL – Conditions were cool and damp across much of the Tri-State region over the last week or so. In Kimball County south of I-80 locally heavy afternoon and evening thunderstorms delivered an average 1.64 inches of rain between Aug. 4-13. In some locations rainfall was heavy enough to cause flash flooding and to partially wash county roads. North of I-80 precipitation totals were somewhat less.
The precipitation and cool weather allowed for good moisture to accumulate in soils to a depth of 20-30 inches. Cool conditions retarded corn growth but in general rainfed summer crop conditions have improved markedly with moisture.
The August rain, coupled with moisture received in late July, gave warm season grasses a solid production boost and banked a good deal of moisture in the soil. This bodes well for the chances of cool season grass growth as summer fades into autumn. Winter annual grasses, particularly downy brome, were beginning to germinate.

Regional Forecast and Conditions
As of Tuesday morning, Aug. 15, the temperature at sunrise was 56 degrees under partly cloudy. The day was expected to be sunny and warm with temperatures climbing into the low 80’s.
Following a predicted cool and rainy day on Wednesday, the forecast calls for a return to seasonably warm and dry conditions through the weekend and into the middle of next week. Daytime temperatures were expected to peak in the upper 80’s with little if any precipitation in the forecast. The season chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms remains in effect across the region.
Air temperatures cooled across the region last week. At Kimball the Aug. 8-14 daytime high averaged 78.28 degrees, about 2 degrees cooler than the previous week. The weekly high temperature was 90 degrees on Aug. 14. Overnight lows averaged 53.71 degrees, about one-half degree cooler than the previous week. The weekly low temperature was 46 degrees on Aug. 11. The weekly mean temperature was 66.0 degrees, about 1 degree cooler than the previous week, and 4 degrees cooler than the August average of 70.0 degrees. The long term average high and low temperatures at Kimball for August are 85.9 and 54.2 degrees, respectively.
Twelve of 13 Panhandle stations reported precipitation over the Aug 8-14 period, with only Big Springs reporting no moisture. Rainfall totals ranged from 1.07 inches at Dalton to 0.06 inches at Sidney Municipal. Panhandle precipitation averaged 0.51 inches compared to 0.92 inches last week.
Panhandle soil temperatures cooled again over the Aug. 8-14 period: (this week/last week/change): Alliance 67.0/71.1 (-4.1) degrees; Gordon 70.0/73.0 (-3.0) degrees; Mitchell 71.2/75.1 (-3.9) degrees; Scottsbluff 71.6/76.2 (-4.6); and Sidney 68.2/76.5 (-8.3) degrees.
Winds near Kimball averaged east-southeast and mostly light over the Aug. 8-14 period. Gusts for the week averaged 25.57 mph. High gust for the week was 32 mph on August 8.

Weather Almanac
Here’s an overview of Aug. 18 temperature and precipitation highs, lows, and averages over the preceding 123 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 89 degrees, overnight low 49 degrees, average temperature 69 degrees. Precipitation 0.00 inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth zero inches.
The warmest Aug. 18 on record was 99 degrees in 1995. The coolest high temperature was 62 degrees in 2015. The coldest overnight low was 41 degrees in 1927. The warmest overnight low was 68 degrees in 1936. Over the years since 1893 the high temperature has averaged 83 degrees, the overnight low 54 degrees, the daily average 68.8 degrees, precipitation has averaged 0.05 inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth zero inches.
The highest precipitation total was 0.82 inches in 1984.

U.S. Drought Monitor
The High Plains: Hit-and-miss rainfall throughout the High Plains brought changes in this week’s Drought Monitor to every state.
In east central North Dakota, abnormally dry conditions (D0) were expanded because of continued rainfall deficits and reports of crops showing signs of drought stress. The entire state now has some level of dry/drought depiction. While other parts of the state received beneficial rainfall, it was typically just enough to “string crops along” and keep drought conditions from further deterioration in these areas. The only exception was a small area of improvement to the extreme drought (D3) conditions in the south central part of the state along the South Dakota border. This area has consistently received above-average rainfall and has 30-day totals in excess of 200 percent of normal.
South Dakota also saw a mix of improvements and degradations due to the spotty nature of last week’s rains. Locally heavy rainfall brought a full category improvement to an approximate one-to-two county wide band extending from northeast to central South Dakota. Counties along the southwestern edge of South Dakota’s drought-afflicted region missed out on the rains and saw an expansion of moderate and severe drought.
The Tri-State area of South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa also saw an expansion of severe drought (D2) conditions as rainfall deficits grew and crops began to see stress. However, Nebraska saw improvements on this week’s map. Locally heavy rainfall of 3-plus inches brought improvements to the abnormally dry (D0) areas in the northwest and southeast part of the state and the moderate (D1) and/or severe drought (D2) in the southwest and north central regions.
Counties in eastern Kansas received a month’s worth of precipitation in one week, erasing abnormally dry conditions. Central Kansas saw an expansion of moderate drought (D1) as continued rainfall deficits dried out soils, decreased streamflow and stressed vegetation.

National Summary: This week was marked by torrential rains and flooding in cities such as New Orleans, Houston, Kansas City, and Las Vegas. Heavy rainfall over the Gulf Coast and into the Mid-South kept drought conditions at bay while scattered showers and thunderstorms over the southern Rockies erased pockets of abnormally dry conditions.
In the drought-afflicted Plains, rains brought relief to a few areas, slowed deterioration in others, and had minimal impact on areas suffering from long-term impacts. Once again, rain bypassed the Pacific Northwest, where record-breaking high temperatures and the prolonged dry spell deteriorated drought conditions.
For more information on the U.S. Drought Monitor visit: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu

U.S. Conditions and Weather Report
Rainfall expanded and intensified from the central and southern Plains eastward into the middle and southern Atlantic States, providing abundant to locally excessive moisture for pastures and immature summer crops.
Flash flooding struck several areas, including portions of the southeastern Plains, where late-week rainfall locally totaled 4 to 8 inches or more. The heaviest rain fell along and near the leading edge of cooler air.
As a result, the deepening cool pattern across the central and eastern U.S. held weekly temperatures at least 5 degrees below normal across large sections of the Plains and Midwest.
East of the Rockies, lingering heat was mostly limited to Florida’s peninsula and southern Texas.
Meanwhile, most of the Midwest received little, if any, precipitation. Of particular concern for corn and soybeans were areas—such as large sections of Iowa and northern Missouri—that have received minimal rainfall in recent weeks.
Farther north, however, beneficial showers peppered the far upper Midwest. Spotty but much-needed rain also dampened drought-affected areas of Nebraska and the Dakotas, but largely bypassed parched Montana.
By mid-August, more than three dozen wildfires, in various stages of containment, were burning across western Montana and the Pacific Northwest. In the Northwest, air-quality degradations were noted due to hot, smoky, stagnant conditions. Despite the smoke and haze, Pacific Northwestern temperatures averaged at least 5 to 10 degrees above normal.
Elsewhere, widely scattered, monsoon-related showers dotted the Great Basin and Intermountain West, while periods of heavier rain affected the central and southern Rockies.

USDA Weekly Weather and Crop Reports

Widespread moisture was generally received across the state last week, improving crop conditions but delaying fieldwork.
Locally moderate to heavy precipitation and cooler temperatures improved rangeland conditions and replenished soil moisture supplies. Some areas that haven’t received recent moisture continue to be dry.
In northeastern counties, pasture and dryland crop conditions improved due to moisture, with irrigated crops also remaining in good condition. Irrigation water supplies are reported to be adequate and available through crop maturity, although some dryland crops stressed due to previous lack of moisture are likely to see decreased yields. A reporter in Weld county noted that considerable crop-damaging hail was observed last week.
East central counties also received moisture this week, with conditions looking very good. A reporter in southwestern Colorado noted that rain delayed alfalfa cutting and winter
wheat harvest.
In the San Luis Valley, rain also continues to hamper barley maturation and harvest, as well as alfalfa cutting and baling. Isolated hail reportedly damaged alfalfa and barley. Quality of alfalfa hay was noted to be diminished due to wet conditions. A reporter also noted that the rain has caused isolated incidences of barley sprout. Producers are preparing for fall potato harvest in the San Luis Valley.
In southeastern counties, delays to alfalfa harvest were noted again this week due to rain with poor quality reported. Isolated hail was reported with some damage sustained to crops in those localities.
Statewide, harvest of hay and small grains was behind the average by week’s end due to weather conditions.
Stored feed supplies were rated 1 percent short, 90 percent adequate, and 9 percent surplus.
Sheep death loss was 45 percent average and 55 percent light. Cattle death loss was 1 percent heavy, 65 percent average, and 34 percent light.
For the week ending August 13, 2017, cool, wet conditions dominated the weather pattern. There were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 14 percent very short,
38 short, 47 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 14 percent very short, 39 short, 47 adequate, and 0 surplus.
Corn condition rated 4 percent very poor, 9 poor, 24 fair, 46 good, and 17 excellent. Corn dough was 65 percent, behind 72 last year, and near the five-year average of 66. Dented was 14 percent, near 16 last year, and behind 19 average.
Soybean condition rated 4 percent very poor, 8 poor, 27 fair, 50 good, and 11 excellent. Soybeans blooming was 97 percent, equal to both last year and average. Setting pods was 78 percent, near 79 last year and 80 average.
Sorghum condition rated 3 percent very poor, 3 poor, 30 fair, 50 good, and 14 excellent. Sorghum headed was 77 percent, behind 85 last year, but equal to average. Coloring was 12 percent, behind 24 last year, and near 13 average.
Oats harvested was 95 percent, ahead of 88 last year, and near 93 average.
Alfalfa condition rated 4 percent very poor, 13 poor, 33 fair, 39 good, and 11 excellent. Alfalfa third cutting was 77 percent complete, near 74 last year, and ahead of 65 average. Fourth cutting was 16 percent complete, near 15 last year.
Dry edible beans condition rated 5 percent very poor, 9 poor, 13 fair, 49 good, and 24 excellent. Dry edible beans blooming was 93 percent, equal to last year. Setting pods was 85 percent, near 83 last year, and ahead of 80 average.
Pasture and range conditions rated 6 percent very poor, 23 poor, 38 fair, 28 good, and
5 excellent.
Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 14 short, 84 adequate, and 0 surplus.

Wyoming experienced cooler than normal temperatures for the week. Thirty-three of the 34 stations reported below average temperatures for the week with the high temperature of 88 degrees recorded at Greybull and a low of 33 degrees at Lake Yellowstone.
Six stations reported no precipitation and Buford had the most precipitation with 1.24 inches. Eighteen of the 34 stations received above normal precipitation.
A reporter from North Central Wyoming indicted that some areas have not gotten rainfall since early spring and are very dry with high fire danger.
A reporter from Western Wyoming noted that it is getting very dry. Another reporter from North Central Wyoming added that they could use a good soaking rain. They also indicated that there has been some issues with larkspur in the Big Horn Mountains.
A reporter from Eastern Wyoming stated that the cooler weather has helped with conditions but ranchers are having to haul water and hay and forage is rated as below half of normal.
A reporter from Western Wyoming stated that it has been hot and dry for the most part with cool nights.
A reporter from Southwestern Wyoming reported that the rain and cooler temperatures have improved conditions a little.
A reporter from South Central Wyoming indicated that they finally got a good rain which is a big help for the pastures and stock water.
A reporter from Southeast Wyoming reported continued monsoonal moisture has helped rain conditions. Another reporter from Southeastern Wyoming indicated that they have had cooler temperatures and almost daily rains which has slowed alfalfa harvest. Another reporter from Southeastern Wyoming noted that they received some much needed precipitation and some pastures are showing signs of revival. They also indicated that some area received hail that stripped up and/or beat the plants pretty heavily.
Stock water supplies across Wyoming were rated 6 percent very short, 20 percent short, and 74 percent adequate.


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