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Drought conditions worsen slightly in Nebraska

Drought conditions worsen slightly in Nebraska

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drought monitor

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows that the entire state is abnormally dry and extreme drought has expanded in the Panhandle.

Severe storms that hit Nebraska on Sunday night offered a little relief to certain parts of the state, but they weren't enough to stop the relentless march of drought.

According to the latest Drought Monitor released Thursday morning by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's National Drought Mitigation Center, the entire state is now considered abnormally dry. There were only minor increases in moderate and severe drought, but extreme drought grew from 9.4% of the state to 11.3%.

The good news is that rain that fell Sunday night in northeast Nebraska helped reduce drought conditions there. Cuming County, which has been experiencing extreme drought conditions for several weeks, has now dropped back into the severe drought category.

The Panhandle, however, saw extreme drought tighten its grip. Of the 11 Panhandle counties, 10 of them have areas of extreme drought. That includes all of Box Butte County and most of Dawes, Morrill and Sioux counties.

Lancaster County has mostly avoided any drought conditions, but the entire county is now considered abnormally dry. Lincoln, which got 0.20 inches Sunday night, has seen just over 3 inches of rain since the beginning of August, which is more than 4 inches below average.

Long-range forecasts from the National Weather Service show a slightly better-than-average chance of precipitation for Nebraska, especially eastern Nebraska, over the next two weeks. However, other forecasts call for mainly dry conditions.

Both retired UNL climatologist Ken Dewey and The Weather Channel are forecasting no more than a 20% chance of rain on any day during the next 14 days, with Dewey saying in a tweet that the next two weeks are likely to be "mostly dry."

AccuWeather's forecast is slightly more optimistic for rain chances next week, with a 60% chance of showers on Tuesday and 35% on Thursday.

Lincoln and much of the state also will be looking at much colder temperatures in the coming days.

Lancaster and several other counties are in a frost advisory from 1-10 a.m. Friday morning, with a forecast low of 35. Several counties farther west and north are in a freeze warning. Other than Saturday, when the forecast calls for a high of 71, predictions are for temperatures to be colder than normal, with highs in the 40s and 50s and lows in the 30s.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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