Dry Times Taking a Toll

Tuesday rolled into the metro all decked out in temperatures that pushed into the 60s – a great elixir for shaking your cabin fever. But dry times are leaving their mark.

Golfers hit the links, piles of snow turned to puddles of water and spring made a bold if fleeting pass at the heartland Tuesday.

While this winter has been frigid, one of the other mainstays of the season has been missing. Plant specialists say they’re worried about a lack of moisture.

Evergreens that look healthy now might be facing tough times due to the lack of water.

Kathleen Cue, with the University of Nebraska Extension Office told us, “We are not doing OK as far as moisture goes, no definitely not.”

Kathleen says the ground is dry and drying out. Cracks in the ground along landscaping are cause for concern. A lack of snowpack is also a threat.

“Snow itself is an excellent mulch,” Cue said. “And so when it exists on top of the soil, again it is acting as a buffer against any of those deep drops in temperatures that we are seeing.”

Dry conditions continue to bump-up the threat of brush fires, keeping firefighters on the lookout.

On the bright side, with a minimum of rollercoaster activity in the freeze/thaw cycle, there have been fewer potholes so far, although there are some. And with the relatively clear streets, the city is saving money on the snow removal budget, using just eight percent of $3 million set aside for salt and contractors for the calendar year. Anything left over goes back into street maintenance budget.

Then, of course, there’s golf. The city opened four courses Tuesday.

Omaha’s Dick Orth said, “It's really not too bad out here today. Just follow the lines if you get into a snow drift. That's all you need to do.”

As for that moisture, we’ll need some fluid to get back on track. The plant experts say it will take an inch of rain a week. After it’s done snowing for the season.

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