Drought continues to worsen across Nebraska


Drought continued to worsen last week across Nebraska, especially in areas where it already is most severe.

According to the latest Drought Monitor released Thursday by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, areas of extreme and exceptional drought grew significantly.

The amount of extreme drought or worse grew from 51% to more than 58%, while the percentage of exceptional drought went from 11.5% to nearly 15%.

All of Lancaster County is now in severe drought, and the extreme drought area is creeping closer, with it now covering much of Saunders County.

Predictions last week of widespread rains of an inch or more in eastern Nebraska didn’t materialize, with most areas seeing less than half an inch. Lincoln officially received only 0.2 inches on Friday, although it picked up another 0.05 inches Thursday morning.

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Drought, which has fried crops and pastures and fueled wildfires, is part of a rough year for Nebraska agriculture.

That still leaves the city on track for its driest year since 2012 and its second-driest year since 1988.

The long-range forecast does not offer any relief, with Nebraska expected to see below-average precipitation over the next two weeks.

Lincoln’s only possibility of precipitation in the next week is a small chance of snow on Monday.

The extended forecast also calls for colder-than-normal conditions. After hitting a record high of 78 on Wednesday, Lincoln is forecast to have highs in the 30s and 40s and lows in the teens and 20s for an extended period.

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