LINCOLN — The news had an unusual ring to it at Wednesday's drought task force meeting for Nebraska.
It was mostly good.
Abundant moisture, in some cases too much, has improved soil moisture levels, streamflows and reservoir levels in much of the state.
“Overall, we're in a lot better shape,” said Al Dutcher, Nebraska state climatologist. “It's been a long time since we've been able to say that.''
Nebraska has been in the grips of a drought since the summer of 2012, and much of the state remains so.
The significant change has been a lessening of the intensity of drought, said climatologist Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Center.
However, left out of the improvement has been southwest Nebraska, where rainfall remains below normal and significant drought remains entrenched.
For the immediate future, dry weather will be a good thing, because it will allow the harvest to be completed. Once that is done, all eyes will turn to late fall and winter.
Dutcher and Svoboda said there's no clear signal in climate patterns about how plentiful — or not — snow and rain will be in the months prior to spring.