Drought Over For Metro, But...

By: Cheryl Lemke, Jeff Sabin Email
By: Cheryl Lemke, Jeff Sabin Email

The drought in the Heartland has become almost non-existent.

Heavy rainfall the last few weeks has put a serious dent in the drought for much of Nebraska and Iowa. In fact, the latest Drought Monitor supplied by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now shows drought-free conditions for all of southeastern Nebraska and most of Iowa.

Eppley Airfield in Omaha specifically received 5.74" of rain for the month of May, nearly a full inch above normal for the month, helping to create a 2.5 inch rainfall surplus for Omaha for the year.

Still, parts of western Nebraska remain under an extreme to exceptional drought, but most locales across the Midwest have made great strides in offsetting the devastating drought of 2012.

The drought conditions that still exist in the Midwest and elsewhere in the country are impacting our pocketbooks.

Beautiful roses are just some of the things that Dundee neighbors Mary McKeon and Joyce Egan have been enjoying about the spring rains. “I say thank God I don't have to water,” says Mary.

“I don't have a sprinkling system so I am most grateful,” says Joyce, grateful for her lush, green grass. “This spring is wonderful. My back yard looks like something out of a picture book it's so gorgeous.”

While sprinklers haven't been getting their usual workout this spring, the drought does continue to have an effect when we head to the grocery store. While the drought is over in this part of the state, it's still drought conditions in the heart of cattle country, which means the drought is still having an impact on beef prices and there's no relief in sight.

Ranchers can't raise as many cows on dried up pastures, so a tight supply of cattle means higher prices at the meat counter. “Feed costs more, to get gas to deliver, everything that goes into production and supplying food, the costs are all going up,” says meat manager James Batenhorst.

At least for now, the cost to keep your lawn growing has gone down while keeping up with the mowing could be a challenge. “It is good, we're not complaining,” says Mary. “In fact, I hope it just stays like this. It doesn't even have to get much hotter.”

Ann Marie Bosshamer with the Nebraska Beef Council says the number of cattle in the United States right now is at its lowest point in years. Even if drought conditions improve, it would take several years to bring that number back up.

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