The lack of snowfall this year is putting Lincoln on track to be in the top five least snowy winters

Posted By: Jason Taylor

LINCOLN, Neb. A UNL Climatologist says little snow cover can cause stress for agriculture but things can still change.

"It’s certainly an unusual winter so far and if it’s like last winter we might be done. But climatologically if we look back a lot of times March has produced snowfall so we need to be cautious in saying it’s over." Said Dr. Ken Dewey, Regional Climatologist at UNL

Snowfall in the capital city can vary drastically year to year. This winter has been one of those extreme years. UNL Regional Climatologist Dr. Ken Dewey says as of February 9th the city of Lincoln has only received a total of 5.1 inches of snow this winter ranking it the third lowest so far. We’ve also seen the least number of days with one inch or more snow on the ground. Dr. Dewey adds that sometimes March can surprise us.

"When we look at the snowfall data 27 times out of the last 117 March’s was the snowiest month of the winter for Lincoln." Dewey said

However, over the next week or so it’s looking very mild and dry. For some of us who like to do outdoor activities that sounds like good news, but this can be bad news.

"The bad news is this isn’t good for agriculture because agriculture would have been better to have snow cover sitting on the land and then slowly as it melts have the water go into the ground." Dewey said

In fact lack of snow cover can be problematic.

"If it’s under a snow cover it’s impossible for it to evaporate any water. And, when it’s exposed to strong winds and warm temperatures evaporation takes place and there’s also stress on the winter wheat." Dewey said

But there is some good news. Currently no drought conditions are present and there’s been plenty of snow in the Rockies which feeds into the Platte river. Dr. Dewey says snow cover is most important during the mid-winter and not so much in the late winter.

"I think our bigger concern is we hope it doesn’t warm up consistently and too quickly and things start to blossom." Dewey said

Dewey says it’s important to know the weather in Nebraska can change very rapidly and what we see now doesn’t mean it will be that way in months ahead.