Drought loosens stranglehold in areas of the Great Plains

Excessive rainfall during May has started to improve drought conditions in areas of the Great Plains.  

Southwest Nebraska farmer Mike Baker says more than 8 inches of rain has fallen since midnight Friday and will delay planting well into June. “This is much better than having the dirt blow because we’ve had that the last two years where we’ve had dirt storms roll through. If we have to sit and be patient for a few weeks, that’s not a bad thing.”

Flood watches and warnings have been posted for Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas where the National Weather Service says more than a foot of rain has fallen.

Baker tells Brownfield those totals are after another six inches of rain earlier in mid-May. “We were so dry, believe it or not, that first six inches of rain in 48 hours, not much water ran.  What did run, was soaked away in a week’s time.”

Baker grows a variety of crops including sorghum, wheat and corn and says there might be some replanting, but not much. “The low spots, I’m going to say, nothing is going to grow, but we’ll get back in when we can.”

He says the region has gotten more than a foot of rain in about three weeks, which is more than all of last year and double 2021.

Despite the moisture, the latest US Drought Monitor showed only an improvement from exceptional to severe drought.

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