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Farmer Dave Ogden shreds stalks on his land west of Wood River and north of Highway 30 to prepare for planting. While this piece of land was not harmed during the recent flooding, land owned by Ogden near the overpass did have some flood damage. Wet debris, wet ground and cooler temperatures have made planting preparations a challenge this season. (Independent/Barrett Stinson)

A weather system that has brought rain and thunderstorms into the area has also caused the National Weather Service in Hastings to issue a flood watch for Hall County and south Central Nebraska.

Rain and thunderstorms produced .88 of an inch of precipitation in Grand Island by 6 p.m. Monday. Other areas were expected to receive 1 to 2 inches or more. That led to the flood watch from the weather service.

As of 6 p.m., Grand Island had received 2.8 inches of precipitation for June. The current rain will easily bring that amount to more than 3 inches by week’s end.

Wednesday’s forecast doesn’t call for rain, but it will be cooler, with a high of near 73.

It will be windy, with gusts as high as 25 mph. The morning low will be about 59.

It will be warmer on Thursday, with a high in the lower 80s, but showers and thunderstorms are likely after 1 a.m., with the chance of precipitation being 60%.

On Friday, there’s a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms, with a high near 80 and a low of about 60.

Saturday’s high will be in the mid- to upper 70s, with a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms Saturday night through Monday.

The weather has been a problem for Nebraska farmers throughout the planting season. The USDA reported that for Nebraska farmers, as of the week ending Sunday, 98% of the corn crop has been planted, with 90% of the crop emerged.

While this year’s weather problems have caused many farmers to not plant their corn or to plant an alternative crop, the corn that has been planted is rated 77% either good or excellent.

In the 18 major corn-producing states, 92% of the corn has been planted, compared to the five-year average of 100%. States lagging behind the most in planting were Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and South Dakota.

Among the 18 major corn-producing states, corn conditions were rated 77% good or excellent.

State soybean conditions were rated 1% very poor, 3% poor, 21% fair, 68% good and 7% excellent.

The amount of soybeans planted was 91%, behind the 100% last year and the 98% average. Emerged was 73%, well behind the 96% last year and behind the 92% average.

Winter wheat condition rated 1% very poor, 5% poor, 23% fair, 45% good and 26% excellent. Winter wheat headed was 83%, behind the 97% last year and the 96% average.

Sorghum planted was 80%, behind the 95% last year and the 94% average.

Pasture and range conditions rated 2% poor, 11% fair, 72% good and 15% excellent.

Statewide, topsoil moisture supplies rated 1% very short, 2% short, 83% adequate and 14% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 2% short, 83% adequate and 15% surplus.

Earlier this week, Al Dutcher, associate Nebraska state climatologist, said that with all the planting delays across the Corn Belt due to excessive moisture during the planting season, producers may want to consider paying close attention to disease issues that develop under high relative humidity levels.

“This will be particularly important in flood-ravaged areas south of Nebraska, including southern Kansas, northern Oklahoma, southern Missouri, and northern Arkansas,” Dutcher said.

Snowpack in the central and southern Rockies is abnormally large for this time of the year, he added.

The Natural Resource and Conservation Service (NRCS) snow course data from June 12 indicates that the Colorado River basin has a current snow-water content estimated at 845% of normal due to a very cold May and a subsequent slow melt season.

With heavy rain falling Monday in the nation’s Corn Belt, especially along the I-80 corridor, Dutcher said temperatures could rebound to normal to above normal temperatures during the end of June. With above normal temperatures favored for the last full week of June and adequate moisture, he said, this should promote rapid growth for the state’s corn crop.

But it will also mean that evapotranspiration rates will be increasing. That will add more low-level moisture into the atmosphere, increasing relative humidity levels, even without a frontal boundary to trigger precipitation.

Dutcher said El Niño conditions are expected to continue through this fall, so surface evaporation from the central Pacific Ocean should be drawn northeastward to the southwestern U.S. anytime a trough develops in the Gulf of Alaska and heads southeastward towards the western U.S.

“Therefore, any upper air troughs that make it into the central/southern Rockies will have an additional moisture source available,” he said.

“That increases the potential for high relative humidity values being drawn northward from the southern Plains when surface lows develop in advance of the approaching upper air troughs as they head eastward out of the southern/central Rocky Mountains.”

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