Plains region has experienced varying degrees of moisture

Regina Bird

Summer rolls on, and with that many people are keeping tabs on radar along with just how high the mercury is going to climb daily.

Despite the lack of moisture for some early on this summer, the Crop Moisture Index produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that a majority of the Plains were sitting OK in terms of short-term moisture available for warm season crops. Western Nebraska is one exception with a deficit in moisture noted there. The northern Plains are another exception as drought remains, and ongoing heat only added to the issue in July. This is stressing water supplies, crops, rangeland and pastures in that region, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The warm temperatures don’t look to let up soon in that area. The northern Plains along with most of Nebraska should see temperatures above seasonal norms for the next month. For eastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma, below normal temperatures are expected into August.

Eastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma will also likely pick up more moisture than normal during August. Western Nebraska and the northern Plains are expected to see the opposite with below average precipitation.

Through October, most of the Plains should expect temperatures above average for the time of year. The exceptions would be the eastern portions of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. For precipitation, western Texas to the panhandle of Oklahoma to western Kansas into Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota less precipitation than normal is forecast for the next three months.

While some parts of the central Plains experienced an expanding area of drought in the past month, the long-term outlooks for the region only point toward worsening drought for western to northern Nebraska.

The future global ENSO forecast is showing more clarity compared to past months with more confidence that La Niña will develop at some point this fall. Once that occurs, La Niña is expected to stay into the winter. That’s looking ahead though. Recent conditions continue to reflect ENSO-Neutral and that should remain this summer and into part of fall.

I’m always keeping an eye to the sky (and the weather patterns), so watch for September’s update.

Editor’s note: Regina Bird grew up on a farm near Belleville, Kansas. The views from the farm helped spur her interest in weather. Following high school, she went on to get a bachelor’s degree in meteorology from the University of Kansas. She currently works as a meteorologist for NTV and KFXL in central Nebraska. Follow her on Twitter: @ReginaBirdWX.