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Dry & Wet (Depending on How You Look At It)

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There's so many different ways to look at precipitation and how we compare to years past. What it really comes down to is here and now...well, sort of.

So with that in mind, we are abnormally dry in some areas of the state, and right on track for others. The drought situation in the United States is monitored by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As of last Thursday, the state is still 100 drought-free. However, about 32% of the state is abnormally dry.



It's not that out of the ordinary for precipitation amounts to drop off around December. This is the time of the year that precipitation starts changing over to snow and *typically* snow yields less water. Snow typically falls at a ratio of about 10:1, meaning it would take 10” of snow to yield one inch of water, however it can contain more or less water. The higher the 1st number in the ratio, the drier the snow.

Because snow typically yields less water, precipitation amounts can drop in the winter months. Based on average, January and February are two of our driest months. Each month usually sees about 3.20” of precipitation. The only months that averages less are September (2.91”) & October (3.13”).

As of December 18th, we've picked up 0.78” of precipitation this month. Average for the first 18 days of December is 2.22.” So we are 1.44” below average for the month. The “rain spigot” turned off around the beginning of November and we've only had a handful of days with abundant precipitation since.

But let's go further back. Despite the dry November and December, it's been a wet year overall. We actually had a 6-month stretch of above average precipitation. Now, a lot of those rainy days fell in 24 hours or less, but it still fell and it still soaked the ground...and it still counts. We also recorded the 34th and 19th rainiest days in Lexington's recorded history.

This was a stark difference from last year. At this time in 2016, almost 99% of the state was abnormally dry and about 95% of the state was in at least a moderate drought. We didn't have the abundance of rainfall during the summer and early fall, like we did this year.

If we look at precipitation totals for the entire year of 2017, we sit at 47.58.” This is already 2.41” above our yearly average and we still have 13 days left to pick up more. In comparison, 2016 ended with 44.39” which was 0.78” short of average.



So even if we're dry here and now in December, 2017 has actually been a good year for precipitation!

-Meteorologist Seth Phillips

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