Al Dutcher, State Climatologist from UNL, spoke to the Chamber Agribusiness Committee in December. He reviewed climate data from 2017 and said last winter was warm and dry as the La Nina event completely went away.
Talking about the current situation, Al said Nebraska got almost the entire average fall precipitation in early October so the recent dry spell isn’t as dramatic as some are saying. Al showed the current snow depth map, which shows strong snow pack from the Great Lakes to the north and east. There is very little snow in the mountains of Colorado. This year’s La Nina event is much stronger than last year and is expected to last longer. Al said La Nina pattern will keep dry conditions south of Nebraska, which will continue the drought in those areas.
Turning his attention to the 2018 climatological forecast, Al said a La Nina event like we have currently would average 4-8-inches more snow than normal for our area. His official forecast for winter in our area is colder than normal with above normal snowfall. He said February would be most likely for heavy snow and he expects at least one big snowstorm. Later in the spring, Al said there would be a higher likelihood for severe weather the longer La Nina lasts.