Water Resources of the United States

PROJECT ALERT NOTICE (NE) Nebraska Drought Update

Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2013 12:50:08 EDT

Summary: Nebraska continues to experience long-term drought.

Event Information:
Hydrologic Conditions:
Compared with the first part of September, the U.S. Drought Monitor shows that drought conditions in Nebraska have continued to improve in the eastern half of the state. Most (94.4 percent) of the state is still categorized in the range of "Abnormally Dry" to having "Extreme" drought (no significant change since August). As of the U.S. Drought Monitor Report of September 17, 2013, no part of the state is experiencing "Exceptional" drought (as much as 77.6 percent of the state was in this category at this time in 2012). Portions of the state experiencing "Extreme" and "Severe" drought remained relatively unchanged to slightly improved, respectively, at 29.3 percent (slightly up from 26.2 percent in the beginning of September), and 56.6 percent (down 10 percent from the beginning of September). This was due to central and eastern Nebraska receiving 1-8 inches of rain in the past month (according to the National Weather Service, http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ridge2/RFC_Precip/index.php?lat=41.4&lon=-97&zoom=6). This rainfall primarily improved conditions in the Loup River, Elkhorn River, and Big and Little Blue River Basins.

Records or Milestones:
Of 60 long-term USGS streamgages (>30 years record) in Nebraska, six (or 10 percent, down from 13 percent at the beginning of September) are at no flow. The 7-day average streamflow for nine of the long-term streamgages (15 percent, significantly down from the reported 48 percent from the USGS Nebraska Water Science Center Drought Report of September 10) are classified as being "Below Normal" to "Severe Hydrologic Drought" (http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=pa07d_dry&r=ne&w=map).

The USGS GroundwaterWatch Web site (http://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/) shows that 36 percent (no change since July) of ranked wells in the Nebraska Continuous Groundwater-Level Network are less than the 24th percentile ("Below Normal" or "Much Below Normal"). The most affected zones are the North Platte River Basin, the Upper Big Blue River Basin, and the Republican River Basin.

Additional Efforts Required due to the Drought:
No additional low-flow discharge measurements were needed since the September report. No low-end rating extensions were required in the past month.

Special Projects:
None in the past month.

Communications and Outreach:
Nebraska WSC staff have answered numerous inquiries for drought information to date.

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