Several 'significant' snow events needed to alleviate drought conditions

Jan 7, 2013

Nebraska would need about 100-inches of snow this winter to bring the area out of drought conditions.

That’s according to State Climatologist Al Dutcher. As of last Thursday, more than 77 percent of Nebraska remained in exceptional drought conditions. The UNL-based National Drought Mitigation Center says recent snowfall did very little to relieve drought conditions in the Plains.

Dutcher says a winter with above-normal precipitation is needed to improve the drought outlook. "It’s going to take numerous snow events, especially when you consider that a general wet snow here in the early winter period gives us an 8 to 10 inch ratio for every inch of water. So when you get 6 inches of snowfall, it appears to be a great amount, but the reality is typically it’s going to hold less than half an inch of water."

Dutcher says precipitation is up to 16 inches below normal in some parts of Nebraska. He says an early spring could make conditions worse. He recommends that communities start planning now in the event of mandatory water restrictions later this year.