After an unbearably hot and dry summer, fall is shaping up to be fairly mild.
The only problem? No significant easing of the drought.
According to the outlook issued Thursday by the U.S. Climate Prediction Center, the odds favor warmer than normal weather through November across most of the United States, including Nebraska and Iowa.
And there is no sign of extra rain coming our way.
Warm and dry weather is good for golf outings, tennis and biking, but it's not what farmers, ranchers and gardeners want.
The summer of 2012 will go down as the driest and third-warmest on record for Nebraska, according to the National Climatic Data Center. In Iowa, it will be recorded as second driest and 10th warmest.
Saturday marks the start of fall. The change in seasons more than anything has been responsible for the easing of extreme heat, said Dave Fobert, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Valley.
All of Nebraska and Iowa are forecast to remain in drought through the end of the year.
The hot, dry summer is part of a larger trend.
According to the Climatic Data Center, the Earth weathered its third-warmest summer on record and one of its 10 hottest years on record.
Globally, the land mass most affected by this year's higher-than normal-temperatures has been the eastern two-thirds of the United States, including Iowa and Nebraska.
Driest summer in Nebraska
Average summer rainfall: 9.46 inches
2012 summer rainfall: 3.54 inches
Nebraska had the warmest summer since the 1930s with an average temperature of 75.33.
Driest summer on record (118 years)
Statewide rainfall averaged 3.54 inches, or 37 percent of normal (9.46 inches)
1. 2012 3.54 inches
2. 1936 4.18 inches
3. 1922 5.44 inches
4. 1976 5.77 inches
5. 1934 5.87 inches
Driest summer on record:
Grand Island 2.37 inches
Norfolk 1.88 inches
North Platte 2.65 inches
Valentine 2.79 inches
Lincoln had its fourth-driest summer, 4.20 inches
Omaha had its 10th-driest summer, 5.97 inches.
Omaha's record-dry July
.01 inches of rain recorded, previous record .45 inches in 1925 and 1916.
Third-warmest summer out of 118 years and warmest since the 1930s. Average temperature, 75.33 degrees; 3.36 degrees above average;
1. 1936 77.8 degrees
2. 1934 77.03 degrees
3. 2012 75.33 degrees
Average 71.97 degrees
Temperature records matched, broken
>> 1,075 records matched or broken for hottest day or warmest night in Nebraska and Iowa; 552 in Nebraska and 523 in Iowa.
>> 21 temperature records matched or broken for hottest days or warmest nights in Nebraska and Iowa; 10 in Nebraska, 11 in Iowa.
>> 115 degrees, hottest day on record in McCook, June 26, previous high of 114 set July 20, 1932.
>> 82 degrees, highest overnight low on record in Nebraska City, July 4, previous record of 80 set July 19, 1974.
Omaha's hot night: 84-degree overnight low July 24 was warmest night of the summer (also warmest July night on record; previous mark was 82, on July 20, 2011) and 2 degrees shy of all-time warmest night.
Hot summer in the city: average temperatures
Scottsbluff, hottest summer on record 76.4 degrees
Valentine, second warmest 77.0 degrees
Omaha, third warmest 78.9 degrees
North Platte, third warmest 76.3 degrees
Norfolk, fifth warmest 76.6 degrees
Grand Island, eighth warmest 77.7 degrees
Lincoln, 16th warmest, 77.6 degrees
Days at or above 100 degrees
>> Scottsbluff set record with 29 days, average is 4.6 days; previous record was 24 in 1936.
>> Lincoln had 16 days, about 10 more than normal 6.1; record is 41 set in 1936.
>> Omaha had 11 days, about 8 more than normal 2.9 days; record is 30 in 1936.
Second driest, 6.94 inches, 56 percent of normal (12.39 inches)
10th warmest, 73.90 degrees, 2.36 degrees above average of 71.54 inches; warmest summer was 1936.
What's the big picture?
Third-warmest and 18th-driest summer in the United States.
U.S. summer rankings, temperature:
1. 1936 74.6 degrees
2. 2011 74.5 degrees
3. 2012 74.4 degrees
Globally, third warmest summer, but no global precipitation record available.
Sources: National Climatic Data and Climate Prediction Centers, National Weather Service, High Plains Regional Climate Center. (Summer defined as June, July, August for meteorological purposes.)
Contact the writer: 402-444-1102, email@example.com