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Frost possible Friday morning; drought continues to get worse after dry September
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Frost possible Friday morning; drought continues to get worse after dry September


Current drought conditions aren't as bad as they were in 2012, when the Platte River upstream from the city of Lincoln's wellfields near Ashland was almost totally dry, but they are the worst they've been in more than six years.

A drier-than-normal September did not do Nebraska any favors in the drought department.

In fact, drought conditions expanded significantly last week across the state.

According to the latest Drought Monitor released Thursday from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 77% of the state is experiencing at least moderate drought conditions, which is up sharply from last week, when it was 57%. Severe drought now covers nearly one-third of the state, and about 7.5% is in extreme drought.

Three months ago less than 6% of the state was experiencing any level of drought conditions, and there was no severe or extreme drought. But that was before the driest August ever recorded, followed by a September that provided well below-average precipitation.

The hardest-hit areas of the state continue to be parts of northeast Nebraska, especially Cuming County, and the Panhandle. Those are the areas where severe and extreme drought are most prevalent.

Lancaster County has so far avoided drought conditions, although more than half the county is now considered abnormally dry.

Drought tightens grip on Nebraska as hot, dry spell looms

Lincoln got 1.62 inches of rain last month, slightly more than in August. However, its total precipitation for the past two months is just 2.89 inches, which is less than half of the normal 6.5 inches for the two months combined.

That's still better off than many areas. Omaha is now a foot below normal on its precipitation for the year. Norfolk, which was already more than 6 inches below normal for the year, was an inch below normal in September.

The forecast does not offer much good news. The two-week forecast from the National Weather Service predicts drier-than-normal weather for the entire state.

It also predicts warmer-than-normal weather, although things will not start out that way.

Rain last week helps ease drought in Nebraska slightly

Much of eastern Nebraska, including Lincoln, is in a frost advisory for Friday morning. The forecast low for Lincoln is 36 degrees. Some areas farther west could see their first freeze of the season.

It will be unseasonably cool in Lincoln, with highs in the low 60s through the weekend, before temperatures rise into the upper 70s by Tuesday.

Get ready for weather roller coaster in Lincoln

In 2012, drought ravages Nebraska

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


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Business reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

Related to this story

  • Updated

Lincoln has received 1.27 inches of rain since Tuesday, which matches the amount of rain it got for the whole month of August. That was actually better than the state as a whole, which averaged only 0.78 inches for the month.

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