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Nebraska, Furnas

Public Information Statement

Statement as of 10:50 AM CST on January 26, 2015


... Grand Island poised to have one of the driest januarys on
record...

Winter is always the driest time of year for the Central Plains.
The reason for this is that The Rockies mountains naturally induce
high pressure and west or northwest winds aloft. The disturbances
that create precipitation-producing low pressure systems then
track well north and east of the region. The only time extensive
areas of heavy meaningful precipitation occur is when winds aloft
are from the southwest... and disturbances come out of the Desert
Southwest and cross the Central Plains. They are able to entrain
moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

Grand Island is the primary long-term climate site for the NWS
Hastings forecast/coverage area. During the months of December-
January-February /which comprise meteorological winter/ the totals
of rain and melted snowfall are less than one inch for each of
those months. The 30 year average /from 1981 to 2010/ is only 1.84
inches for the entire winter.

So how much precipitation has fallen this month? And how does it
compare with other dry januarys? Currently... Grand Island has only
measured 0.03 inches and these measurements are taken at the
Central Nebraska Regional Airport /gri/. The Table below lists
the top 10 driest januarys on record... and precipitation records
date back to 1896.

Top 10 driest januarys on record at gri...

1) 0.00 in 1900
2) trace in 1986
3) trace in 1961
4) trace in 1933
5) 0.02 in 1942
6) 0.03 in 2015 <<<<< current ranking
7) 0.04 in 1970
8) 0.05 in 1909
9) 0.06 in 1987
10) 0.06 in 1914

Additional measurable precipitation through the end of this month
is unlikely.

So what happened in February of those years? Well... the odds do
not favor receiving more precipitation in februarys that follow a
dry January. Of those years... February precipitation continued to
be drier than normal /which is 0.68 inches/ in six of them... two
ended up close to normal... and only one finished above normal.

The good news is that there is no statistical correlation between
an excessively dry winter and what occurs the rest of the year to
follow. In other words... a very dry winter is no indication that
the rest of the year will be dry as well.

The winter of 2013-14 was an example of this. The total
precipitation was only 0.76 inches. However... 2014 finished at
27.56 inches. Last winter was the 9th driest on record at Grand
Island... but 2014 ended up slightly above normal /+0.90/.


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