A Few Clouds and Breezy
Pressure : 30.09 in
Dewpoint : 55.0 °
Wind : South
Nebraska drought conditions increase in severity
Drought conditions are continuing to worsen across the U.S. The drought monitor released by UNL today shows Nebraska is in the heart of it.
Seventy-three percent of the state is in 'exceptional drought' conditions which is the worst intensity classification possible. We aren't expected to see much rain anytime soon.
One farmer says he's been through this before.
"'88 comes to mind. '88 was another real tough year," said Rick Onken.
Retired farmer Rick Onken has spent most of his life tending to crops.
He now works on his son's farm. They irrigated twice as much this year and their dry land yield was far below normal.
"The dry land acres that don't have underground water, you're at mother nature's mercy," said Onken.
Most farmers in Nebraska say they're losing out.
"Whatever hasn't been irrigated has been a complete bust or failure," farmer Alan Hoagland said.
As we head into fall the cooler temperatures will give dry lands a break. But with the severity of drought conditions we see across the state it will take a large scale weather pattern change to bring salvation.
"We need a heavy wet snow to get a lot of widespread moisture across the area, into the ground," said National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Moritz.
The National Weather Service in Hastings say some areas need upwards of 15 inches of precipitation.
Winter months aren't usually the time to catch up, but if we can see normal rainfall next year conditions will start to return to normal.
"We'll continue to look at the operation and do things that will conserve moisture and do whatever we can to get a crop to grow," said Onken.
As farmers deliver this year's crop to local grain elevators they hold out hope next year will be wetter.
"Hope for rain! Just pray for rain!" said Hoagland.
Moritz says even if we start seeing a lot of precipitation it will take time to get out of these drought conditions. There are too many variables to mark a definitive time-frame of relief.
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