Drought concerns in the nation’s midsection have in some areas eased but have not been erased by recent rains. Climatologist Mark Svoboda works in the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. Svoboda says eastern Nebraska, a good portion of Iowa and northern Missouri received anywhere from two to five inches of rain last week, which is “good news” for crops that are just sprouting. Svoboda says it’s kind of good news/bad news, however, because there’s flooding in some areas which is washing out the crops. Svoboda says unfortunately, much of the rain has not reached sub-soil levels. Svoboda says under ideal conditions when the soil’s prepared to accept rain, 80 to 90 percent of rain that falls can reach the sub-soil, but when soil is crusted over because of drought, much of the deluge runs off. Svoboda says under those conditions, less than half of the rain that falls replentishes the sub-soil. Svoboda says the runoff from streams is starting to fill some ponds in the region but much of the water is working its way out of the area “rather quickly.” Over the last six to eight weeks, there’s been an improvement in moisture levels in eastern Nebraska, extreme southeastern South Dakota, and western Iowa. Svoboda says rainfall levels are still way below normal in other areas.Svoboda says “there’s still a little bit of lingering, abnormal dryness” in extreme southern Iowa, northwestern Missouri, southeast Nebraska and northeast Nebraska because “there’s still some concern about how much moisture is locked way down deep.” Again, though, the situation has improved in much of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.Svoboda says while the general fear has been drought, now folks are starting to have concerns about flooding. Svoboda says forecasters don’t see any strong indicators, so it’s hard to predict whether the summer will be hot and dry or cool and wet.
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