Mesonets show warmer weather in Nebraska, fewer crops yielded

PIERCE, Neb. -- September is supposed to be one of -- if not THE -- best time of year weather-wise for Nebraska. But many are wondering, with severe weather events happening on either side of Nebraska, what winter could look like and if seasons are going to continue to change. Officials at a weather station at Willow Creek Area Park in Pierce County said a station like theirs can help answer those questions.

Brian Bruckner grew up in Osmond. Now, Bruckner is the assistant manager of the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District, which hosts two mesonet stations. Mesonet stations are about 200 square feet of equipment to measure the wind, soil moisture, temperature, and more data. This information helps agriculture producers the most, but also provides practical information for other Nebraskans that can warn of a flood, drought or long term changes in the climate. 

"It's kind of this complete environmental monitoring program we run out of the university," said Nebraska State Climatologist Martha Shulski. She notes Nebraska is in need of more than the 70 stations they have right now. 

The EPA reported Nebraska's soil is drier, and rainstorms more intense -- it predicts more flooding to come, with drier summers to yield fewer crops.

The mesonet in Willow Creek State Recreation Park backs that up. It shows 49% of the state is abnormally dry this month.

If you'd like to host a station, Bruckner notes that there is no maintenance required. The main station at UNL will send field reporters to do all the labor. 

In the meantime, the president's infrastructure bill, including climate provisions, is set to pass at the end of September.

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