Weather change brings moisture, cooler temps

© 2018-Business Farmer

KIMBALL – With the jet stream shifting slightly north and west and tropical weather events pushing north out of the Baja Peninsula the climatic scene was set for the onset of monsoon season in the southwest. Here in the tri-state region of southeast Wyoming, northeast Colorado, and the Nebraska Panhandle we’ve been the beneficiary of these changes.
Beginning around July 26 cooler, moisture-laden air began to flow across the region, replacing the hot, dry air which had been stalled beneath a more southeasterly pressure ridge. Temperatures began to fall and thunderstorms formed as the humid, cloudy air flowed overhead.
At Kimball, which had been very dry since late May, more than an inch of rain fell in the last week of July, and in the first week of August an additional three-quarters of an inch fell. This wasn’t enough to redress the rainfall quantity shortfall, however, the rains arrived just in time to boost warm season grass production and at least partially revive flagging spring-planted dryland crops. Proso millet, for instance, is doing remarkably well, and dryland corn, which had been heading for failure, is looking
much better.

Regional Forecast and Conditions
As of Tuesday morning, Aug. 8, the temperature at sunrise was 59 degrees under overcast skies. The day was expected to remain mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of rain and a forecast high temperature of 76 degrees. Wednesday-Friday daytime temperatures were expected to remain in the mid-70’s, with a continued 40-60 percent chance of rain falling from mostly cloudy skies. The Saturday-Wednesday forecast was much the same, with perhaps a slight warming trend and a slight fall-off in the chance of rain from afternoon and evening thunderstorms.
Air temperatures cooled across the region last week. At Kimball the Aug. 1-7 daytime high averaged 80.14 degrees, about 7 degrees cooler than the previous week. The weekly high temperature was 87 degrees on Aug. 1 and Aug. 4. Overnight lows averaged 54.28 degrees, about eight degrees cooler than the previous week. The weekly low temperature was 49 degrees on Aug. 4. The weekly mean temperature was 67.21 degrees, about 7.5 degrees cooler than the previous week, and about 2.75 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.
All 13 Panhandle stations reported precipitation over the Aug. 1-7 period, ranging from 2.06 at Alliance Municipal to 0.13 at Sidney Municipal. Panhandle precipitation averaged 0.92 inches compared to 0.70 inches last week.
Panhandle soil temperatures cooled again over the Aug. 1-7 period: (this week/last week/change): Alliance 71.1/76.5 (-5.4) degrees; Gordon 73.0/77.9 (-4.9) degrees; Mitchell 75.1/79.2 (-4.1) degrees; Scottsbluff 76.2/79.7 (-3.5); and Sidney 76.5/81.7 (-5.2) degrees.
Winds near Kimball averaged easterly and mostly light over the Aug. 1-7 period. Gusts for the week averaged 23.43 mph. High gust for the week was 28 mph on
August 2.

Weather Almanac
An overview of Aug. 11 temperature and precipitation highs, lows, and averages over the preceding 123 years at Kimball.
Last year: Daily high temperature 96 degrees, overnight low 55 degrees, average temperature 75.5 degrees. Precipitation 0.00 inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth zero inches.
The warmest on record was 99 degrees in 1936. The coolest high temperature was 56 degrees in 1997. The coldest overnight low was 45 degrees in 1974. The warmest overnight low was 67 degrees in 1936. Over the years since 1893 the high temperature on has averaged 84 degrees, the overnight low 56 degrees, the daily average 70.0 degrees, precipitation has averaged 0.07 inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth
zero inches.
The highest precipitation total was 4.08 inches in 2015.

U.S. Drought Monitor
The High Plains: Scattered showers in the Plains brought drought relief to a few isolated locations and merely stalled the deterioration in others.
In North Dakota, temperatures in excess of 5 degrees above normal, combined with a continued lack of rainfall led to an expansion of abnormally dry, moderate drought, and severe drought in the east. A one category improvement, from severe to moderate drought, was made over the south-central part of the state near the South Dakota border in response to locally heavy rainfall that improved many of the drought indicators including stream flow, soil moisture, and evaporative demand. However, impacts to vegetation are generally set with the rainfall having come too late in the season to improve things. Conditions in the remainder of the state remain unchanged. USDA reports nearly three-quarters of the state’s topsoil is short to very short and reports of agricultural impacts are widespread. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has declared a drought disaster for most of the state.
In South Dakota, two weeks of localized rainfall brought a mixture of improvements and degradations to the eastern half of the state. Moderate drought was reduced slightly in central South Dakota and a one-category improvement was made near the east-central border where reports of 12 inches of rainfall fell. The southeastern part of the state missed out on the heavy rains. Leading to the expansion of moderate drought into the area. The western part of the state remained status quo.
As with the Dakotas, patchy rainfall also occurred in Nebraska and Kansas. Nebraska saw a small reduction in abnormal dryness in the east-central part of the state where locally 3-5 inches were reported last week. Kansas saw a reduction in abnormally dry conditions in the southwest part of the state and an increase in the southeast.

National Summary: Rain fell in much of the country last week with the greatest amounts occurring in a band that extended from the Southwest to the Great Plains and across much of the eastern half of the country.
Rainfall bypassed the northwest, south-central U.S., and parts of the north-central U.S. Continued precipitation deficits combined with above normal temperatures resulted in an expansion of abnormal dryness and drought.
Seasonal monsoon showers in the Southwest alleviated lingering short-term dryness and began to chip away at the long-term deficits. Rainfall in the Plains and Midwest brought relief to a few locations and staved off degradation in others.

U.S. Conditions and Weather Report
Minimal Tropical Storm Emily reached Florida’s Gulf coast near Tampa Bay on July 31, contributing to heavy showers but otherwise having few impacts. Emily, which made landfall with maximum sustained winds near 45 mph, was quickly downgraded to a tropical depression while crossing Florida’s peninsula and later dissipated over the western Atlantic Ocean.
Showers lingered for much of the week along and near the Gulf Coast. In particular, late-week downpours in New Orleans sparked flash flooding when the city’s pumps were unable to keep up with runoff and inflow.
Meanwhile, heavy showers also dotted a broad area from the southern Rockies into the mid-South, including portions of the central and southern Plains. The rain generally benefited pastures and summer crops but sparked local flooding.
Showers also occurred across the North from the Dakotas to New England. Across the northern Plains, rain aided drought-stressed rangeland and pastures but arrived too late to assist spring-sown small grains.
Midwestern rainfall was spotty, leaving pockets of drought across the western Corn Belt—despite favorable temperatures for reproductive to filling summer crops.
Weekly temperatures averaged 5 to 10 degrees below normal in a broad area centered across the eastern Plains, southwestern Corn Belt, and mid-South. Farther west, however, hot weather dominated the Pacific Coast States, the northern Great Basin, and the northernmost Rockies. Weekly temperatures averaged at least 10 degrees above normal at scattered locations across northern California and the Pacific Northwest. In addition, mostly dry weather prevailed along and northwest of a line from California to Montana.

USDA Weekly Weather and Crop Reports

Localized moisture and cooler temperatures in several areas last week helped improve dry conditions.
Across the state, winter wheat harvest is virtually complete, with spring wheat and barley harvest underway.
In northeastern counties, several localities received substantial precipitation, but moisture was isolated and areas still remain dry. Irrigated crops are reported to be doing well. A reporter in Morgan county noted that in stressed areas, dryland forage crop failures have been reported. Poor pasture conditions are also an immediate concern and producers are worried about upcoming fall wheat planting conditions.
East central counties also received moisture, although isolated thunderstorms moved through the area mid-week producing crop-damaging hail. In the San Luis Valley, reporters noted that continued precipitation has resulted in diminished hay quality and is expected to delay the third cutting of alfalfa. Use of irrigation water was reportedly reduced in areas due to sufficient rain. Some hail was also reported this past week in the San Luis Valley.
Southeastern counties received significant moisture in areas, with others remaining a little dry. Reporters in these counties noted that the moisture and cooler temperatures helped replenish soil moisture, but hay quality declined and fieldwork remained slow due to weather conditions.
Statewide, soil moisture supplies improved from the previous week along with the condition of several crops.
Stored feed supplies were rated 2 percent short, 85 percent adequate, and 13
percent surplus.
Sheep death loss was 40 percent average and 60 percent light. Cattle death loss was 3 percent heavy, 56 percent average, and 41
percent light.

Report was not available at press time.

Wyoming experienced warm temperatures with limited precipitation for the week. Ten of the 34 stations reported above average temperatures for the week with the high temperature of 98 degrees recorded at Greybull and a low of 36 degrees at Lake Yellowstone.
Eight stations reported no precipitation and Newcastle had the most precipitation with 1.64 inches. Eleven of the 34 stations received above normal precipitation.
A reporter from North Central Wyoming indicated that thunderstorm/torrential rains hit causing flash floods and damaging some crops.
Farmers continued harvesting small grains with barley at 27 percent complete, oats at 21 percent, spring wheat at 15 percent complete, and winter wheat at 55 percent complete.
Stock water supplies across Wyoming were rated 9 percent very short, 19 percent short, and 72 percent adequate.

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