Active weather pattern keeps May wet, cool

If we were to sum up May in three words, they would be “wet,” “cool,” and “stormy.” An active weather pattern kept things interesting around Nebraska thanks to a jet stream pattern with a trough in the west and a ridge in the east. Enough moisture was in atmosphere so that systems moving across the state brought plenty of rainfall, some of that coming in heavy doses and most of that falling on already saturated soils. Temperatures were cool enough in the Panhandle that some locations received snow — and impressive amounts. Tornado, hail and wind storm reports were plentiful and even the monthly tornado total is more than half of the typical seasonal total. Flooding continues to be widespread around Nebraska with a continuation of above-normal rains. Interstate 29 was opened for a time in May but closed again in early June due to flooding.

April brings swing of weather extremes

After a wild ride in March, April brought some interesting extremes to Nebraska this year, which is not uncommon for spring weather conditions. Some areas received a foot of snow — in one day — near mid-month. Record high daily temperatures occurred during the third week. This was followed by temperatures plunging at month’s end with more snow for portions of the state. Clean-up, recovery and damage assessments continue across portions of Nebraska affected by the flood. Massive amounts of sand deposited on crop fields remains a significant issue in some low-lying areas. Portions of Interstate 29 along Nebraska’s eastern border remained closed through April.

Quarterly: Rough winter brings climate to fore

Winter brought terrible cold and too much moisture to many parts of the state, leading to simultaneous catastrophic weather events in the west, northcentral and northeast parts of the state. In addition to towns and farmland crushed by flooding, cattle losses due to extreme cold, snow and flooding are estimated at $400 million in losses, according to national media reports. In addition to providing context for the events leading up to those events, we provided localized climate data to the Nebraska Farm Service Agency in York to assist in their response to emergency aid requests.

March brings historic flooding to Nebraska

Historic and large-scale flooding ravaged Nebraska this March. It wasn’t only a result of the “bomb” cyclone causing blizzard conditions in the west and heavy rain in the east. It was the combination and timing of events leading up to the massive storm that set the stage for damaging floods. 

Before the storm, the weather was quite cold, coming in as the ninth lowest average February temperature on record ― more than 9 degrees lower than normal. Precipitation, particularly for eastern Nebraska, was quite high with two to four times the normal amount going back to December. Snow had been plentiful, and the landscape was blanketed with an appreciable snowpack. Rivers were frozen and beneath the snow cover, the soils were frozen and saturated. Any snowmelt or rain would have nowhere to go but downstream. 

Fact check: January not as cold or wet as it seemed

The southeast corner of Nebraska hit the snow jackpot this season, after January continued the trend of substantial snowfall amounts across the state. A storm at mid-month resulted in impressive daily snowfall totals of more than 6 inches in certain locations. While the rest of the state received only a few inches of snow for the entire month, places like Nebraska City (20 inches), Tecumseh (18 inches), Syracuse (16.6 inches), Auburn (15.5 inches), the Lincoln area (14 inches) and Omaha Eppley Airfield (12.8 inches) saw copious amounts. For the season-to-date total (since Oct. 1), this portion of Nebraska has seen 2 to 3 feet of snow.