Drought likely to linger in Nebraska - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Drought likely to linger in Nebraska

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By: Cole Miller

Bad news when it comes to the drought in Nebraska. Experts say the next two months could make or break our chances of turning things around.
They're scientists, professors and experts in weather and climatology. Meeting Monday at UNL's East Campus, the Climate Assessment Response Committee tackled the tough questions surrounding the drought that's crippled Nebraska.
"If we continue this dry trend through the end of May, then most likely, we're going to see a significant drought," state climatologist Al Dutcher said.

"It'll probably be as intense if not worse than last year."

Dutcher says that's because of soil moisture, or how much available water lies beneath our feet. To get those numbers back up, Dutcher says we would need about an inch and a half of rain every week.

"Now you're talking about 42'' of moisture in a year's time to completely undo all the deficit accumulated since the fall of 2011."

As the soil dries up, Dutcher says temperatures go up, leading to a stable atmosphere and a reduced chance of thunderstorms.

It's a combination Dutcher says leads to reduced water supplies. In fact, he says major parts of the Platte River could dry up, bringing back those water restrictions we saw last year.

"The restrictions that were put in place last fall for Lincoln are likely to be mandated very early this year and they may continue the entire summer," Dutcher said.

"So, it could be a real tough summer for everybody if we just don't start to see the dynamics of the atmosphere change and start dropping significant moisture."
As of now, 80% of the state is in at least an extreme drought, including Lincoln.

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