Precip map

Eastern Nebraska could see more rainfall in June.

The summer forecast favors above normal precipitation and near normal temperatures for most of Nebraska and Kansas.

Climate Prediction Center released its latest outlook May 21.

Central and eastern Nebraska and most of Kansas could get more rain the normal in early summer. Things should level out with near normal precipitation in July in August, according to Michael L. Moritz, National Weather Service meteorologist in Hastings, Nebraska.

Summer precipitation in Kansas constitutes the majority of the annual precipitation, particularly in the western part of the state. Currently, there is a sharp divide of above normal amounts in the southeastern areas of Kansas, and below normal amounts in the western third, according to the Kansas climatology team.

The southwestern corner of Kansas has received particularly little amounts. Elkhart, Morton County, has recorded just 2.14 inches for the year-to-date; less than half of the normal 5.25 inches that would be expected. In contrast, Columbus, Cherokee County has recorded 25.20 inches compared to the normal of 16.07 inches. That’s according to observations by Mary Knapp, assistant state climatologist at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas

Summer precipitation models favor above normal rainfall for much of central and eastern U.S., including much of Kansas – that is except the areas of the state that need it the most, Knapp said.

Temperatures should be near normal across eastern Kansas and central and eastern Nebraska for June, July and August. Odds favor slightly above normal temperatures across the Nebraska Panhandle and roughly the western one-third of Kansas. Southwest Kansas is the most likely area to experience warmer than normal temperatures this summer, Mortiz said.

Heading into the growing season, there is a large variability in moisture conditions across the Great Plains. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor indicates a large area of moderate to extreme drought (D1 to D3) broadly centered over southeastern Colorado and southwestern Kansas.

Drought there and in the Northwest has left 20% of the U.S. winter wheat production area in drought, said Brad Rippey, meteorologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The latest Crop Progress report from USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service showed 16% of the U.S. winter wheat crop rated in very poor to poor condition, Rippey said.

Colorado led major production states with 44% of its winter wheat rated very poor to poor, followed by Kansas (23%) and Oregon (22%). Drought was also having an adverse effect on some rangeland and pastures across southern sections of the Rockies and High Plains.

Neither La Nina nor El Nino conditions are expected to significantly influence summer conditions this year. But above normal soil moisture trends in the upper and middle Mississippi Valley may have some influence on both temperature and precipitation, especially in June. W

hile there is an expectation of above normal precipitation for parts of the area, the above normal temperatures forecast for western Kansas may actually exacerbate ongoing and developing drought conditions as the summer progresses there, Moritz said.

“Should early summer rains not materialize, overall drought concerns in the region will rise, and the current abnormally dry conditions across northern Kansas and southern Nebraska could worsen,” he added.

For Iowa, the outlook indicates a wet June. Portions of the state experienced abnormally dry in May. Longer-term precipitation deficits indicate drying conditions out six months, according to state climatologist Justin Gilsan.

“With an extended stretch of dry weather in April and May, along with wetter than normal sub-soil conditions, farmers were able to make great progress in the fields,” he said. “Planting progress was well ahead of the five-year average, given the favorable planting window.”

Wet conditions should mean favorable growing conditions, he said, but he advises farmers to keep an eye on the short-term temperature and precipitation outlooks.

Iowas summer temperatures are more uncertain.

“It breaks down to a 33% chance of above or below normal temperatures,” he said.

Amy Hadachek is a freelance writer who lives on a farm with her husband in North Central Kansas. She's also a meteorologist and storm chaser. Amy can be reached at