Hydrologic Outlook
Issued by NWS Hastings, NE
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000 FGUS73 KGID 192009 ESFGID NEC129-NEC175-NEC077-NEC125-NEC163-NEC093-NEC019-NEC079-NEC019- KSC147-KSC163-211800- PROBABILISTIC HYDROLOGIC OUTLOOK NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HASTINGS NE 209 PM CST THU FEB 19 2015 ...Spring Flood and Water Resources Outlook Number 1... This outlook is for the Hastings Hydrologic Service Area (HSA). In South Central Nebraska this outlook includes the Platte...Loup...Little Blue...and Republican Rivers and their tributaries. In North Central Kansas...the Solomon River and its tributaries are included. ...The Potential For Spring Flooding Is Near Average to Slightly Below Average Across A Majority Of The Area... ...Short Term Hydrologic Outlook...February 19th - March 5th... There is relatively little snow cover across the outlook area with liquid equivalent snowpack moisture ranging from 0.00 to 0.20 inches. The 8 to 14 day forecast taking us into the first week of March is calling for below normal temperatures and near normal precipitation. Most of the ice melted off of the rivers in late January due to the abnormal warmth. Temperatures have averaged closer to normal during the first half of February and there has been some new ice development...but overall there is currently less ice on area rivers that we normally have at this time of year. With temperatures averaging out below normal the next two weeks it is possible that we could see a little additional ice development on area rivers, but given limited ice thickness, the threat of additional ice jams is rather low and below historical norms. ...Long Term Hydrologic Outlook...March 5th Through May 22nd... The potential for spring flooding is near average to slightly below average across a majority of the area. Spring flood outlooks are routinely issued from February through March to give advanced notice of possible flooding. They are based on soil moisture, snowpack magnitude, streamflow conditions and the long range forecast of future temperatures and precipitation patterns. The long range three month precipitation outlook indicates fairly equal chances of seeing above normal or below normal precipitation across our HSA. Current soil moisture conditions are running near normal across the HSA. Current stream flow conditions are generally running from near normal to below normal for most stream gauging sites across our HSA. The only river within the Hastings HSA that originates deep in the Rockies and is fed by spring snow melt is the Platte River. The current snow water equivalent within the Platte River Basin of the Rocky Mountains is running from near average to slightly below average. It generally takes an exceptionally above normal mountain snow pack for our area to see flooding or even high water related to mountain snow melt. Therefore, high water or flooding from mountain snow melt run off as far east as our HSA this spring is very unlikely. After considering all of the above mentioned factors, the overall forecast for a majority of our HSA is to expect a near normal to slightly below normal chance of seeing spring flooding. However, it is also important to remember that even in dry periods, localized flooding and especially flash flooding are still possible from locally heavy rainfall generated by strong thunderstorms. ...Climatological Review (2014 and Recent Precipitation Trends)... Let`s start with a look back at precipitation totals for the year 2014 across the 30 county NWS Hastings coverage area (24 counties in Nebraska and 6 in Kansas). In a nutshell, 2014 precipitation could be best described as "fairly normal but somewhat variable". On a positive note, most places were not "overly dry" or "overly wet", as the majority of the area registered totals somewhere between 80-110 percent of the 30 year normal. Taking a closer look at 2014 precipitation details within each state (including a table below): Central/South Central Nebraska (24 Counties): Most of the local area measured annual precipitation totals within 3-4" either side of normal. Geographically though, there was noticeable variability over short distances (even within the same county), and thus there were no distinct larger portions of the area that truly stood out as being notably above or below normal. That being said, one could argue that the most concentrated zone of slightly above normal precipitation focused along a fairly narrow, diagonal axis running from Furnas and Harlan Counties in the southwest, then northeastward through the Grand Island/Hastings area and then into the northeastern counties such as Polk/York. Also, despite exceptions, one could also make a case that some of the overall driest counties versus normal within the local area during 2014 were Thayer (especially eastern portions), Webster, Valley and Greeley. As for extremes within Nebraska portions of the local area per NWS Cooperative Observers, the overall driest site during 2014 was Cozad with only 20.98", while the wettest site was York 3N with 38.97" North Central Kansas (6 Counties): Although this area was not nearly as dry during 2014 as it was a few years ago during the notable drought of 2012, the majority of the area tended to fall at least a few inches shy of the 30 year average/normal precipitation. That being said, there was also quiet a bit of localized variability, even within the same county. Overall though, the majority of locations measured somewhere between 21-26", or generally between 80-100 percent of normal annual precipitation. As for extremes, the overall driest NWS Cooperative Observer site within the area during 2014 was Phillipsburg with only 18.24", while the wettest site was Mankato with 31.20". Drought trends (entire area): As a result of the generally "near-normal" precipitation observed across the area during 2014, fortunately there was continued improvement in drought conditions, according to drought classification updates issued weekly by the U.S. Drought Monitor. In other words, for most locations, the notable drought of 2012 continued to gradually fade into the rear-view mirror. For example, when 2014 began most of the western half of the local area (counties mainly west of Highway 281) carried a mix of Category D1 Moderate and Category D2 drought, while eastern parts of the area were mainly assigned Category D0 Abnormally Dry (considered one category better than "true drought"). However, by year`s end, the entire 30-county local area was void of D1 and D2 Drought, although D0 Abnormally Dry continued hanging tough within North Central Kansas and primarily west of Highway 281 in South Central Nebraska. The first table below features precipitation totals and departures from normal/percent of normal for the entire year of 2014, with data depicted for 31 chosen locations scattered throughout the local area. Most of these stations are NWS Cooperative Observers, along with a few primary airport sites: Location Precip North Central KS All of 2014 Normal Departure % Normal -------- -------- ------ --------- -------- Alton 2SW 25.82 26.13 -0.31 99 Beloit 29.76 27.92 +1.84 107 Burr Oak 26.38 27.06 -0.68 98 Logan 18.97 22.73 -3.76 84 Natoma 21.49 26.29 -4.80 82 Phillipsburg 18.24 25.42 -7.18 72 Plainville 4WNW 23.13 25.43 -2.30 91 Smith Center 25.94 25.71 +0.23 101 Location Precip South Central NE All of 2014 Normal Departure % Normal -------- -------- ------ --------- -------- Cambridge 27.50 22.49 +5.01 122 Lexington 6SSE 24.22 23.44 +0.78 103 Clay Center 6ESE 22.29 27.50 -5.21 81 Elwood 8S 25.51 23.43 +2.08 109 Franklin 24.17 26.23 -2.06 92 Genoa 2W 25.13 28.82 -3.69 87 Geneva 26.16 29.27 -3.11 89 Gothenburg 22.10 23.71 -1.61 93 Grand Island Arpt 27.56 26.66 +0.90 103 Greeley 21.09 26.91 -5.82 78 Hastings Airport 29.21 27.11 +2.10 108 Hebron 27.01 31.39 -4.38 86 Holdrege 28.23 27.00 +1.23 105 Kearney Airport 25.25 25.23 +0.02 100 Minden 25.12 26.22 -1.10 96 Nelson 26.04 27.82 -1.78 94 Ord Airport 22.08 24.94 -2.86 89 Osceola 35.53 28.89 +6.64 123 Ravenna 31.64 26.54 +5.10 119 Red Cloud 21.22 26.03 -4.81 82 St. Paul 29.65 26.21 +3.44 113 Superior 25.10 27.85 -2.75 90 York 3N 38.97 30.23 +8.74 129 Now that we have taken a look back at precipitation totals for the year 2014, it`s time to examine more recent trends over the past few months, specifically what has transpired since the start of "meteorological winter" back on Dec. 1 (meteorological winter is defined as the three calendar months of Dec-Jan-Feb). As seen in the limited data presented in the table below, along with NWS AHPS precipitation analysis data found online, the majority of the local 30-county area has received near-to-slightly above normal precipitation so far this winter, or generally 90-125 percent of normal There have been localized exceptions, with a few places registering well-above normal and a few well-below normal. However, in general, precipitation trends across the area this winter have been encouraging and have held off any potential worsening of drought. Certainly, this winter has featured considerably more precipitation-to-date than last winter across most of the area. Keeping things in perspective though, one must always keep in mind that no matter how much or how little liquid-equivalent precipitation falls during the winter it usually only accounts for a small percentage of total annual precipitation, the vast majority of which falls during the spring and summer. This next table below highlights precipitation totals and departures from normal/percent of normal for meteorological winter thus far, covering Dec. 1st-Feb 18th. It only includes data for 10 locations, but still reflects a fairly-representative "cross section" of the area. Location Precip North Central KS Dec 1-Feb 18 Normal Departure % Normal -------- -------- ------ --------- -------- Beloit 1.87 2.00 -0.13 94 Plainville 4WNW 1.67 1.85 -0.18 90 Smith Center 1.54 1.52 +0.02 101 Location Precip South Central NE Dec 1-Feb 18 Normal Departure % Normal -------- -------- ------ --------- -------- Cambridge 1.71 1.39 +0.32 123 Grand Island Arpt 1.92 1.55 +0.37 124 Hastings Airport 1.64 1.31 +0.33 125 Hebron 1.13 2.16 -1.03 52 Kearney Airport 1.23 1.41 -0.18 87 Ord Airport 2.30 1.27 +1.03 181 Osceola 2.37 1.99 +0.38 119 Concluding this climatological review section with a brief look at average soil temperatures during the past week at a 4-inch depth: Values have averaged mainly 30-32 degrees within local counties east of the Highway 281 corridor and mainly 32-34 degrees within counties west of Highway 281, with locally warmer soil temperatures of around 35 degrees or higher found west of Highway 183. ...Weather/Climatological Outlook... It`s now time to switch gears and look ahead to expected weather conditions over the next several days and expected climate trends over the next several months: Starting with the most immediate local weather expectations over the next week (through Feb. 25) as forecasted by NWS Hastings, the main precipitation story surrounds the possibility of accumulating snow this weekend (Feb. 21-22) across parts of the local area. However, for only being a few days away there is still considerable uncertainty regarding these precipitation chances, as the latest forecast models tend to be downplaying the local snow potential more-so than they were 24 hours ago. Although there is still plenty of room for change in the forecast, it currently appears much of the local area (especially in Nebraska) may see no more than 1 inch of snow if hardly any at all, while areas near and especially south of the state line into North Central Kansas may stand the best chance of measuring 2" or more. In turn, weekend liquid-equivalent precipitation totals do not currently appear very impressive either, with most places probably seeing no more than 0.10 to 0.20 inches. Beyond this weekend, there are currently no significant precipitation chances foreseen through the next week. Temperature-wise through the next week, confidence is fairly high that daily readings will average below normal/average on most days, with high temperatures mainly somewhere in the 20s and 30s. The primary exception appears to be Friday the 20th, when widespread milder readings in the 40s/50s are forecast. Putting expected temperatures during the next week in perspective, 30-year normal highs during the latter part of February typically average somewhere in the 40s area-wide. Looking out a bit farther, the latest 8-14 day outlook from the Climate Prediction Center (valid Feb. 26-March 4) calls for generally near-normal precipitation across the local area, but also favors a continuation of below normal temperatures. Looking ahead to the upcoming month of March as a whole, the latest one-month outlook from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) depicts equal chances of having above, near or below normal precipitation and temperatures. This means there is no clear signal in current longer-term forecasts to support one of these outcomes over another. As a point of reference, 30-year normals indicate that March high temperatures across South Central Nebraska and North Central Kansas gradually climb from averages in the the mid-40s/near-50 early in the month to the upper 50s/low 60s by month`s end. Average daily low temperatures in March gradually increase from around 20 to around 30 degrees. Precipitation-wise, normal March precipitation across the local area ranges from around 1.40" in the western-most counties, up to around 2.10" in far eastern counties along and near Highway 81. Turning next to the spring months of March-April-May as a whole, the latest CPC three-month seasonal outlook continues to call for "equal chances" of observing above normal, near normal or below normal values in both the temperature and precipitation departments. In other words, long range forecast tools just do not present enough of a signal to support one of these possible outcomes over another. Despite the current lack of predictability regarding how the upcoming spring might turn out, one can keep in mind that 30-year normal precipitation from March-May across the NWS Hastings coverage area typically ranges from 7-10 inches, with the lowest amounts generally west of Highway 183 and the highest amounts near Highway 81. Finally turning to the latest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook issued by CPC and valid through the end of May, there are currently no expectations of drought conditions (Category D1 Moderate-or-worse) returning to the local area this spring. (The longer range forecasts issued by CPC and referenced in the preceding paragraphs are based on output from various forecast models, as well as forecaster expertise, and take into consideration ongoing global/tropical atmospheric and oceanic states, recent trends in observed data, soil moisture conditions, etc. More information about these longer-range forecasts can be obtained from the CPC web site at: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov) ...Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service Probabilistic Outlook... In Table 1 below...the current (CS) and historical (HS) or normal probabilities of exceeding minor...moderate...and major flood stages are listed for the valid time period. CS values indicate the probability of reaching a flood category based on current conditions. HS values indicate the probability of reaching a flood category based on historical or normal conditions. When the value of CS is more than HS...the probability of exceeding that level is higher than normal. When the value of CS is less than HS...the probability of exceeding that level is lower than normal. ...Table 1--Probabilities for minor...moderate and major flooding... Valid Period: 2/21/2015 - 5/22/2015 : Current and Historical : Chances of Exceeding : Flood Categories : as a Percentage (%) Categorical : Flood Stages (ft) : Minor Moderate Major Location Minor Mod Major : CS HS CS HS CS HS -------- ----- ----- ----- : --- --- --- --- --- --- :Little Blue River Deweese 10.0 16.0 17.0 : 9 13 <5 <5 <5 <5 :North Fork Solomon Glade 11.0 16.0 18.0 : <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 :Bow Creek Stockton 9.0 12.0 13.6 : <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 :Platte River Cozad 6.5 8.0 10.0 : 18 30 6 18 <5 <5 Overton 8.0 12.0 14.0 : 11 12 <5 <5 <5 <5 Kearney 6.0 8.0 9.0 : 17 25 5 9 <5 <5 Grand Island 6.5 7.0 7.5 : 12 17 8 15 5 10 :Wood River Riverdale 11.0 15.0 20.0 : 8 13 <5 <5 <5 <5 Gibbon 15.0 16.0 16.5 : 8 18 7 12 6 10 Alda 10.0 11.0 12.2 : 14 25 11 20 7 12 :South Loup River Ravenna 5.0 8.0 10.0 : 20 25 <5 <5 <5 <5 :Mud Creek Sweetwater 15.0 18.0 20.0 : 10 12 <5 <5 <5 <5 :South Loup River Saint Michael 6.5 9.0 12.0 : 14 25 <5 5 <5 <5 :Middle Loup River Saint Paul 8.0 10.0 12.0 : <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 :North Loup River Saint Paul 7.0 10.0 12.0 : <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 :Cedar River Fullerton 9.0 17.0 18.0 : <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 :Loup River Genoa 10.5 12.0 13.0 : <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 :Beaver Creek Genoa 15.0 17.0 19.0 : 5 5 <5 <5 <5 <5 :Republican River Riverton 9.0 10.5 13.5 : <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 Guide Rock 11.0 14.0 16.0 : 7 12 <5 <5 <5 <5 Hardy 11.0 11.5 12.0 : <5 6 <5 <5 <5 <5 :South Fork Solomon River Woodston 12.0 16.0 27.0 : 9 17 5 10 <5 <5 :South Fork Solomon Osborne 14.0 20.0 27.0 : 16 28 5 7 <5 <5 :North Fork Solomon Portis 15.0 20.0 25.0 : 10 22 6 11 <5 <5 :Solomon River Beloit 20.0 25.0 30.0 : 30 29 11 11 <5 <5 :Republican River Cambridge 9.0 10.0 16.0 : <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 Orleans 9.0 11.0 13.0 : <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 :Beaver Creek Beaver City 11.0 13.0 15.0 : 5 5 <5 <5 <5 <5 :Sappa Creek Beaver City 16.0 18.0 20.0 : <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 Stamford 19.0 22.0 26.0 : <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 :Prairie Dog Creek Woodruff 21.0 24.0 30.0 : <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 <5 Legend CS = Conditional Simulation (Current Outlook) HS = Historical Simulation FT = Feet In Table 2 below...the 95 through 5 percent columns indicate the probability of exceeding the listed stage levels (FT) for the valid time period. ...Table 2--Exceedance Probabilities... Chance of Exceeding Stages at Specific Locations Valid Period: 2/21/2015 - 5/22/2015 Location 95% 90% 75% 50% 25% 10% 5% -------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ :Little Blue River Deweese 2.6 2.6 4.3 6.4 8.6 9.7 12.6 :North Fork Solomon Glade 3.0 3.0 3.0 4.2 7.3 8.8 9.7 :Bow Creek Stockton 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.6 5.8 7.1 7.9 :Platte River Cozad 2.9 2.9 3.3 4.2 6.0 7.8 8.2 Overton 3.9 3.9 3.9 4.2 5.2 8.2 9.2 Kearney 3.9 3.9 3.9 4.1 4.8 7.3 8.0 Grand Island 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.4 5.4 6.8 7.5 :Wood River Riverdale 2.1 2.1 2.2 3.6 5.7 9.7 12.2 Gibbon 4.1 4.1 4.2 6.5 9.3 14.1 16.7 Alda 4.4 4.4 4.6 6.2 7.5 11.2 12.5 :South Loup River Ravenna 2.6 2.7 3.2 4.0 4.6 5.5 5.8 :Mud Creek Sweetwater 5.5 6.6 7.6 10.1 12.3 15.2 16.4 :South Loup River Saint Michael 2.5 2.6 3.1 4.1 5.5 6.9 7.9 :Middle Loup River Saint Paul 2.4 2.4 2.7 3.3 3.9 4.5 5.3 :North Loup River Saint Paul 3.3 3.3 3.4 4.0 4.3 4.7 4.9 :Cedar River Fullerton 3.9 4.1 4.5 5.4 6.0 7.0 7.6 :Loup River Genoa 4.5 4.5 5.8 7.1 8.0 9.2 9.9 :Beaver Creek Genoa 4.2 5.0 6.1 8.1 10.0 12.7 15.2 :Republican River Riverton 1.7 1.7 1.8 3.0 4.5 5.9 8.2 Guide Rock 3.8 3.8 4.1 6.2 7.8 9.6 11.8 Hardy 2.1 2.1 3.4 5.2 6.5 7.6 10.6 :South Fork Solomon River Woodston 3.0 3.0 3.0 4.6 6.5 11.0 16.5 :South Fork Solomon Osborne 3.5 3.5 4.8 6.2 11.1 16.9 20.2 :North Fork Solomon Portis 3.5 3.5 3.9 5.2 9.9 15.3 21.8 :Solomon River Beloit 3.0 3.1 5.4 11.0 21.8 26.2 29.6 :Republican River Cambridge 3.2 3.2 3.2 3.4 4.4 6.2 6.7 Orleans 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.2 4.9 7.0 7.4 :Beaver Creek Beaver City 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.4 6.2 8.8 10.7 :Sappa Creek Beaver City 2.8 2.8 2.8 3.0 5.7 9.9 11.3 Stamford 6.6 6.6 6.6 7.2 9.8 11.4 12.3 :Prairie Dog Creek Woodruff 1.7 1.7 1.7 4.2 7.8 9.2 11.3 In Table 3 below...the 95 through 5 percent columns indicate the probability of falling below the listed stage levels (FT) for the valid time period. ...Table 3--Nonexceedance Probabilities... Chance of Falling Below Stages at Specific Locations Valid Period: 2/21/2015 - 5/22/2015 Location 95% 90% 75% 50% 25% 10% 5% -------- ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ :Little Blue River Deweese 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.4 2.2 2.0 1.9 :North Fork Solomon Glade 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 :Bow Creek Stockton 3.6 3.6 2.5 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 :Platte River Cozad 2.2 1.6 1.3 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 Overton 3.2 2.9 2.4 1.9 1.9 1.9 1.9 Kearney 3.3 3.0 2.4 2.1 2.0 2.0 2.0 Grand Island 3.9 3.6 3.1 3.0 3.0 2.9 2.9 :Wood River Riverdale 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 Gibbon 4.1 4.1 4.1 4.1 4.1 4.1 4.1 Alda 4.4 4.4 4.4 4.4 4.4 4.4 4.4 :South Loup River Ravenna 2.6 2.6 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.4 2.4 :Mud Creek Sweetwater 5.4 5.4 5.3 4.4 4.0 4.0 4.0 :South Loup River Saint Michael 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.3 :Middle Loup River Saint Paul 2.3 2.2 2.2 2.1 2.1 2.0 2.0 :North Loup River Saint Paul 3.1 3.1 3.0 2.8 2.6 2.5 2.5 :Cedar River Fullerton 3.1 3.1 3.1 2.9 2.8 2.7 2.7 :Loup River Genoa 3.1 3.1 3.1 3.1 3.1 3.1 3.1 :Beaver Creek Genoa 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.3 3.2 3.1 3.0 :Republican River Riverton 1.7 1.7 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.6 Guide Rock 3.8 3.5 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.3 Hardy 2.1 2.1 1.6 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 :South Fork Solomon River Woodston 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 :South Fork Solomon Osborne 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.4 3.4 3.4 :North Fork Solomon Portis 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 :Solomon River Beloit 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 2.9 2.9 2.9 :Republican River Cambridge 2.5 2.4 2.1 1.9 1.7 1.6 1.6 Orleans 1.9 1.7 1.4 1.1 1.0 0.9 0.9 :Beaver Creek Beaver City 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0 :Sappa Creek Beaver City 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.8 Stamford 6.5 6.5 6.5 5.5 5.5 5.5 5.5 :Prairie Dog Creek Woodruff 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 These long-range probabilistic outlooks contain forecast values that are calculated using multiple season scenarios from 30 or more years of climatological data...including current conditions of the river...soil moisture...snow cover...and 30 to 90 day long-range outlooks of temperature and precipitation. By providing a range of probabilities...the level of risk associated with long-range planning decisions can be determined. These probabilistic forecasts are part of the National Weather Service`s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service. ...Future Outlooks... The next spring probabilistic outlook is currently scheduled to be issued Thursday March 5th. && Visit our local NWS office website for current weather/hydrological and climate information for South Central Nebraska and North Central Kansas at: www.weather.gov/hastings Additional climate information for the region can be obtained at: www.hprcc.unl.edu Additional information on climatological outlooks can be found at: www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov Further information on drought conditions can be obtained at: www.drought.gov www.drought.unl.edu www.droughtmonitor.unl.edu Information on mountain snowpack can be found at: www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/ftpref/downloads/wsf/201502wsfwww.pdf NWS AHPS precipitation analysis maps can be found at: http://water.weather.gov National snow analysis page can be found at: www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/nsa For training on NWS probabilistic graphics: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSoEgvsnpv4 For training on NWS river forecast graphics: www.youtube.com/watch?v=psIByj8EZY0 $$

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