On RFD-TV: Curtis Riganti | Drought Update
Following one of the driest winters on record, much of the Great Plains and Western United States is experiencing drought. Curtis Riganti, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, helps track drought. He spoke to RFD-TV, May 3, to explain what we can expect this summer.
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[00:00:00.600]Much of the Great Plains and western US is experiencing
[00:00:03.870]drought following one of the driest winters on record.
[00:00:07.530]Producers are now wondering what they can expect this
[00:00:10.230]summer, and how to best prepare.
[00:00:13.920]So tell us about the National Drought Mitigation
[00:00:16.920]How does your team track drought?
[00:00:17.820]So we're organization at the University of
[00:00:32.040]And our mission is to basically help people to reduce
[00:00:36.570]the effects of drought on them by monitoring drought
[00:00:40.200]and through drought research and drought planning.
[00:00:43.570]So what are the drought conditions that we're seeing
[00:00:45.880]currently in different regions?
[00:00:47.680]I know this has been a battle in certain areas of the
[00:00:52.750]Yeah, so in short, right now, the western United States
[00:00:56.170]and the Central and Southern Great Plains are very dry.
[00:00:59.590]We're seeing widespread, severe extreme and exceptional
[00:01:03.400]Some good news is that in the last week or so we have
[00:01:06.280]seen increased precipitation, particularly in parts of
[00:01:09.490]the Great Plains.
[00:01:10.990]So the worst conditions right now are mostly occurring
[00:01:14.860]in the central and southern High Plains, particularly
[00:01:17.920]eastern New Mexico, the Texas panhandle, western
[00:01:20.800]Oklahoma, southwest Kansas where extreme and
[00:01:23.770]exceptional drought conditions.
[00:01:25.240]So by definition, the fifth worst percentiles of
[00:01:28.990]conditions are occurring.
[00:01:30.670]We monitor drought by looking at statistics and ranking
[00:01:35.380]So about the five worst percent is some of the worst
[00:01:39.220]areas that we're seeing in that part of the country
[00:01:41.710]So some areas have improved recently that, in
[00:01:44.650]particular, the Western Dakotas regions, the Upper
[00:01:47.680]Midwest, and the western Great Lakes have seen some
[00:01:50.230]improvements, as well as parts of the south central
[00:01:54.160]And we'll likely see more improvements after the last
[00:01:56.560]week or so of rainfall.
[00:01:58.330]And some of those improvements may continue going
[00:02:00.850]forward into parts of the High Plains region as we go
[00:02:04.150]into May, based on the latest National Weather Service
[00:02:07.620]Well, that's great to hear about these improvements,
[00:02:09.600]but tell us how the situation compares historically, to
[00:02:12.600]other droughts that you've seen.
[00:02:15.460]Yeah, so the situation we're seeing right now,
[00:02:18.730]particularly in parts of the plains and West, compares
[00:02:22.870]a lot to some of the droughts that we've seen over the
[00:02:25.390]past decade, in terms of severity.
[00:02:28.000]So, again, by definition, extreme and exceptional
[00:02:32.290]drought areas are within about the 5% worst droughts
[00:02:36.700]that you see.
[00:02:38.590]Can you talk about some of the tools that are available
[00:02:40.840]for producers and homeowners that they can use in
[00:02:43.150]planning and obviously, you know, getting through this
[00:02:46.420]What can they do?
[00:02:49.360]Yes, so one tool that you can use is to look at the
[00:02:53.740]weekly updates of the US Drought Monitor, you can find
[00:02:56.320]that at droughtmonitor.unl.edu.
[00:02:59.790]Another useful tool for forage producers can be
[00:03:04.727]Grasscast, that's G R A S S C A S T.
[00:03:08.430]And what that does is it uses historical weather and
[00:03:11.558]forage data and then updated weather information for
[00:03:14.687]the from this year, to forecast different scenarios of
[00:03:17.934]forage production through the rest of the growing season.
[00:03:21.300]So feel free to look for that.
[00:03:22.710]And then finally, you can reach out to people at a
[00:03:25.742]local level such as University Extension staff, natural
[00:03:29.072]resources, conservation service, local soil and water
[00:03:32.283]conservation experts and people who have lived in your
[00:03:35.553]area for a long time who have learned how to deal with drought.
[00:03:39.509]Absolutely. Curtis,just great information.
[00:03:41.519]Thank you so much for your insight and for joining us.
[00:03:44.009]That's Curtis Riganti with the UNL National Drought
[00:03:48.359]Again, we appreciate you joining us
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