Drought is a four-letter word here in the Midwest with most residents of the Heartland enduring the worst U.S. drought in decades. Almost all of Nebraska and western Iowa remain under the throes of an extreme to exceptional drought.
Omaha, for instance, is trying to recover from one of the driest years in a long time. The year 2012 only brought a paltry 22.61 inches of precipitation for Omaha, making last year the 29th driest since weather records were kept in the late 1800's.
Although recent rain and snow storms in the nation's midsection have helped ease the grips of this devastating drought, there is still a long way to go. As of March 13th, Omaha is roughly 0.42" of precipitation above normal for the year, but that is only putting just a slight dent in the overall on-going rainfall deficit.
Unfortunately, the outlook for the Spring season does not hold much promise for Midwest farmers. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the precipitation forecast through May indicates equal chance of either above or below normal moisture, but a greater than usual probability of above normal temperatures which would only aid in worsening the dryness of the soil.
Of course, what happens in the next couple of months will be more revealing as the frozen ground will start to thaw, allowing water a chance to really soak into the soil. Even so, the bottom line is that the latest seasonal outlook issued by the Climate Prediction Center reflects the likelihood of the drought persisting through at least the month of May.
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