Posted By: Alden German

A concern for any farmer is how much rain has fallen on their crops. Recently, a good deal of Nebraska farmers have not gotten enough.
Over the past 90 days, precipitation across eastern Nebraska has been well below average.
that's causing concern for people like Dr. Al Dutcher, a climatologist at UNL, especially as the peak of summer crop growing reaches its peak.

"We're nearing the point now with the development of crops where they're going to start using more water on a daily basis than statistically falls on a normal basis."
Since the start of march, eastern Nebraska has had upwards of nearly six inches below normal precipitation.

What's been causing this dry spell? One contributor is a large atmospheric ridge over the plains.

A common feature in the summer, ridges tend to suppress wet weather. Nebraska has been lucky to be on the northern edge, which has allowed small rain systems to bring us some moisture.

Another large contributor...lack of snowpack in the Rocky Mountains.
"Without the snowpack there we just don't have the evaporation in the upper atmosphere," said Dutcher. "We don't have that cold pocket that we would typically have from the snow melting, and then of course the lift from the surfaces that we have at the lower elevations and that heating lifting up and working against that snowpack will develop thunderstorm activity."
Dutcher also says to not get too excited about recent heavy rain events. It's not providing enough rainfall in enough locations to make a dent in the rain deficit.
How can that change? There are a couple options.
"Basically a land falling hurricane or tropical system coming in to the Big Bend area of Texas," said Dutcher. "More importantly I think we need to do is see an active troughing pattern in the western United States that has enough energy with it that it can ride or beat down the semi-permanent high pressure system that's been situated over the southwestern and southern United States."