KIMBALL – August 2017 was rather an interesting month, so far as weather is concerned. Across the Nebraska Panhandle and much of the tri-state region the first half of the month was more cool and wet than average, while the second half of the month was just the opposite – warmer and drier.
During the first half of the month, rainfall south of Kimball totaled 1.84 inches, which is 0.04 inches more than the long term average for the entire month. Peak daytime air temperatures averaged 79.4 degrees, about six degrees below average. Daily low air temperatures came in at 54 degrees, again six degrees cooler than average. Unsurprisingly, the daily mean air temperature of 64.73 degrees was about six degrees less than average.
From Aug. 15 - 29 – as this is written Aug. 30-31 are forecast to be much the same – precipitation south of Kimball totalled only 0.07 inches, or about 0.85 inches less than the long term average. Daily high temperatures climbed to 85.76 degrees, overnight lows climbed to 54.3 degrees, and the daily mean rose to 70.45 degrees. With the exception of rainfall totals, weather conditions over the second half of Aug. were very close to the long-term norm.
Overall for the month, the cool and wet first half will make Aug., 2017 slightly wetter and slightly cooler than average.
Warm and dry conditions of the last two weeks have prompted a lot of crop and grass growth but also used up a great deal of the moisture available in the soil.
Warm season grasses are still remarkably green for this time of the year. As temperatures cool it will be interesting to see how cool season grasses respond. The lack of moisture in the soil could sharply limit regrowth of perennial cool season grasses as well as limit winter annual grass germination and growth.
Rain-fed summer crops across much of the south Panhandle are looking better than we expected a month ago but are beginning to flag as soil moisture runs low.
Wheat producers have been finishing field work to prepare for planting. The big question at this point is whether they will be able to plant into adequate soil moisture or not.
Regional Forecast and Conditions
As of Tuesday morning, the temperature at sunrise was 53 degrees under clear skies. The day was expected to be mostly sunny with a high of 90 degrees and little chance of rain.
The forecast through the weekend and into the middle of next week calls for continued seasonably warm and dry conditions. Daytime temperatures were expected to range in the mid- to upper-80’s. Overnight lows are forecast to fall into the mid-50’s. Little if any widespread precipitation is in the forecast. A chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms remains in effect across the region.
Air temperatures warmed across the region last week. At Kimball, the Aug. 22-28 daytime high averaged 87.28 degrees, about 4.5 degrees warmer than the previous week. The weekly high temperature was 91 degrees on Aug. 26. Overnight lows averaged 54.28 degrees, about two-tenths of a degree cooler than the previous week. The weekly low temperature was 50 degrees on Aug. 22. The weekly mean temperature was 70.78 degrees, about 1.5 degrees warmer than the previous week, and three-fourths of a degree warmer than the August average of 70.0 degrees. The long term average high and low temperatures at Kimball for Aug. are 85.9 and 54.2 degrees, respectively.
Eleven of 13 Panhandle stations reported precipitation over the Aug. 22-28 period. Rainfall totals ranged from 0.29 inches at Harrison to 0.01 inches at Gordon and Sidney Municipal. Scottsbluff and Sidney 0.9NNW reported zero precipitation. Panhandle precipitation averaged 0.09 inches compared to 0.29 inches last week.
Panhandle soil temperatures warmed slightly over the Aug. 22-28 period: (this week/last week/change): Alliance 72.8/71.3 (+1.5) degrees; Gordon 76.0/72.4 (+3.6) degrees; Mitchell 76.1/72.7 (+3.6) degrees; Scottsbluff 75.5/72.9 (+2.6); and Sidney 73.2/70.4 (+2.8) degrees.
Winds near Kimball averaged east-southeasterly and mostly light over the Aug. 22-28 period. Gusts for the week averaged 23.42 mph. High gust for the week was 29 mph on Aug. 22-23.
Sept. 1 Weather Almanac
Here’s an overview of Sept. 1 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 76 degrees, overnight low 57 degrees, average temperature 66.5 degrees. Precipitation 0.00 inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth zero inches.
The warmest Sept. 1 on record was 102 degrees in 1929. The coolest Sept. 1 high temperature was 52 degrees in 1994. The coldest Sept. 1 overnight low was 33 degrees in 1965. The warmest Sept. 1 overnight low was 65 degrees in 1929. Over the years since 1893 the high temperature on Sept. 1 has averaged 80 degrees, the overnight low 50 degrees, the daily average 65.3 degrees, precipitation has averaged 0.05 inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth zero inches.
The greatest Sept. 1 precipitation total was 1.96 inches in 1992.
Snow has fallen on Sept. 1 at Kimball one time (1951) over the last 123 years.
U.S. Drought Monitor
The High Plains: Precipitation was above normal for much of the Dakotas and Nebraska during the week. Rainfall totals exceeded 5 inches in eastern Nebraska and the eastern Dakotas received 3-5 inches. The precipitation helped ease some of the drought conditions that have persisted in the region for several months.
Despite the recent rains, significant long-term dryness still existed so drought conditions continued for much of the region. In North Dakota, it was reported that some ranchers are resorting to drilling new wells as the previously established wells have dried up.
In South Dakota, reported impacts include: dry dams or unusable water, lack of well water, failed hay crops, and wildfire danger.
In Nebraska, it was reported that crops are beginning to stress due to the lack of rain.
National Summary: Precipitation was greater than normal across much of the nation’s mid-section and less than normal in portions of the Deep South, Southeast, Ohio Valley and much of the West.
The heaviest rainfall was in southern Minnesota, western Iowa, eastern Nebraska, western Missouri, eastern Kansas and northwest Arkansas.
Temperatures were above normal for much of the eastern third of the nation, the Deep South and Far West. The Northern Plains, Southwest and much of the West had below-normal temperatures.
Drought and dryness persisted in the northern Plains and expanded westward significantly in Montana.
September weather outlook
According to Nebraska State Climatologist Al Dutcher, short-term climate models predict warm and dry weather across the state through the weekend and into the middle of next week. Decay of a persistent pressure ridge over western Nebraska is expected to allow a cold front to move through the state beginning about Sept. 4, pulling cool Canadian air across the region and prompting a round of moderate to heavy rainfall Sept. 4-6.
After a brief warm-up, a follow-on cold front could bring more moisture and cooling by the Sept. 8-10 weekend.
Dutcher said that a repeat of last year’s September warmth may not be in store in 2017.
“A repeat of last September’s above-normal temperatures would certainly alleviate these (freeze) concerns,” he said. “Unfortunately, I see no such hint of consistent above-normal temperatures developing through the first third of September. There is likely going to be a lot of angst developing in regards to temperature trends as we officially close out Aug. and begin to think about the fall harvest.”
U.S. Conditions and Weather Report
Unprecedented rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Harvey deluged the Houston metropolitan area and many surrounding counties, sparking historic and catastrophic flooding across a large area.
Through Sunday, Aug. 27, widespread 10- to 30-inch rainfall totals stretched northeastward from near the hurricane’s point of landfall near Rockport, Texas, into southwestern Louisiana. Although Harvey’s winds also caused varying degrees of damage in the western Gulf Coast region, major impacts were mostly limited to areas along the middle Texas coast.
Prior to Harvey’s late-week arrival and outside of the hurricane’s sphere of influence, relatively tranquil late-summer weather favored fieldwork and crop maturation across large parts of the country. Producers in the path of the hurricane worked in advance of Harvey’s approach to mitigate losses by moving livestock to higher ground and harvesting cotton and rice.
Elsewhere, pockets of heavy rain were mostly limited to southern sections of the Rockies and Plains; the southern Atlantic region; and the western Corn Belt and environs.
Although the Midwestern showers benefited immature summer crops, ongoing cool weather slowed corn and soybean development. Weekly temperatures averaged at least 5 degrees below normal in parts of the upper Midwest. Generally cool weather also covered portions of the Plains and Northeast.
In contrast, hot, humid weather gripped the Southeast, while late-season heat prevailed across much of the West. Mostly dry weather accompanied the Western heat, favoring fieldwork and summer crop maturation.
Dry weather extended across the northern High Plains, where drought impacts on rangeland and pastures continued to mount as the winter wheat planting season approached.
USDA Weekly Weather and Crop Reports
Drier conditions and warmer weather throughout the state last week allowed fieldwork activities to proceed with minimal delay and helped push crops toward maturity.
In northeastern counties, reporters noted that with the exception of persistently dry areas, crop and rangeland conditions are holding steady and good fieldwork progress was made last week.
East central counties received minimal rain last week, but a reporter remarked crops are in need of heat to mature. Sorghum was noted to be behind.
In the San Luis Valley, barley harvest progressed well in between scattered showers and potato growers are looking to begin harvest in earnest. A reporter noted the drier conditions last week helped move alfalfa harvest along better than past weeks. Livestock and pastures in the San Luis Valley are in good condition with recently received moisture.
Southeastern counties also experienced drier conditions, which helped alfalfa harvest progress. A reporter noted sorghum remains behind in this area with heat units needed to help it mature.
Statewide, harvest of spring wheat remained slightly behind last year and the average, while harvest of barley was at the average.
Stored feed supplies were rated 87 percent adequate and 13 percent surplus.
Sheep death loss was 2 percent heavy, 48 percent average,and 50 percent light. Cattle death loss was 1 percent heavy, 78 percent average, and 21 percent light.
For the week ending Aug. 27, temperatures averaged near normal.
Significant rainfall of an inch or more was received across most eastern counties, however western counties and the panhandle area remained relatively dry. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 23 short, 66 adequate, and 4 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 10 percent very short, 29 short, 60 adequate, and 1 surplus.
There were 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork.
Corn condition rated 4 percent very poor, 9 poor, 24 fair, 47 good, and 16 excellent. Corn dough was 94 percent, equal to last year, and near 92 for the five-year average. Dented was 51 percent, behind 58 last year and 56 average. Mature was 1 percent, near 4 last year, and behind 7 average.
Soybean condition rated 3 percent very poor, 7 poor, 25 fair, 54 good, and 11 excellent. Soybeans setting pods was 97 percent, near 95 last year and 96 average. Dropping leaves was 3 percent, near 7 last year and 5 average.
Sorghum condition rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 29 fair, 50 good, and 18 excellent. Sorghum headed was 98 percent, equal to last year, and near 94 average. Coloring was 38 percent, well behind 70 last year, but near 39 average.
Alfalfa condition rated 4 percent very poor, 9 poor, 29 fair, 46 good, and 12 excellent. Alfalfa third cutting was 92 percent complete, equal to last year, and near 89 average. Fourth cutting was 30 percent, behind 36 last year, but ahead of 20 average.
Dry edible beans condition rated 2 percent very poor, 8 poor, 18 fair, 51 good, and 21 excellent. Dry edible beans setting pods was 94 percent, ahead of 88 last year. Dropping leaves was 5 percent, behind 17 last year and 15 average.
Pasture and range conditions rated 7 percent very poor, 20 poor, 43 fair, 26 good, and 4 excellent.
Stock water supplies rated 2 percent very short, 10 short, 88 adequate, and 0 surplus.
Wyoming experienced warmer than normal temperatures for the week. Thirty of the 34 stations reported above average temperatures for the week with the high temperature of 97 degrees recorded at LaGrange and Torrington and a low of 32 degrees at Big Piney.
Fifteen stations reported no precipitation. Sundance had the most precipitation with 0.69 inches. Thirty-three of the 34 stations received below normal precipitation.
A reporter from North Central Wyoming indicated that there are areas which have not had rainfall since last spring. Another reporter from North Central Wyoming indicated that they have had hot, windy days with no rain. They also indicate that there is a stock water shortage but livestock still look good and field work
A reporter from Western Wyoming noted that they got some rain but it was very spotty. They also indicated that because of high river flows throughout the summer regulation of irrigation water has not been necessary.
A reporter from Southwestern Wyoming indicated that cooler temperatures and small rain storms have helped maintain pasture and range conditions.
A reporter from South Central Wyoming reported that the rainy conditions have ended and they are back to dry conditions. They also reported hay harvest is close to completion and cattle are being moved off summer pasture.
A reporter from Southeastern Wyoming indicated that late summer conditions persist but range conditions are good due to monsoonal weather. Another reporter from Southeastern Wyoming noted that they have received some rain but the driest part of the county remains dry.
Stock water supplies across Wyoming were rated 9 percent very short, 23 percent short, and 68 percent adequate.