UPDATE (6:30 a.m.)
* Highs in the 40s to around 50 are forecast for today in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa as the next storm system is expected to arrive tonight. A little light rain will be possible with that system into Tuesday morning, along with lower temperatures rolling in behind the system. Some snowflakes could mix in with the rain before ending in northeast Nebraska and west-central Iowa, with no accumulation likely.
* A dense fog advisory was issued for this morning in central and south-central Nebraska, including Grand Island, Kearney and Hastings, and for northeast Nebraska, northwest Iowa and southeast South Dakota.
* The latest Omaha-area forecast, according to the National Weather Service office in Valley:
Today — Patchy fog and some drizzle before 9 a.m. Otherwise, cloudy with a high near 46.
Tonight — A 30 percent chance of rain, mainly after midnight, with a low around 34.
Tuesday — A 30 percent chance of rain, mainly before noon, with a high near 47.
Tuesday night — Mostly cloudy with a low around 31 and north winds gusting as high as 20 mph.
Wednesday — Mostly sunny with a high near 41 and north-northwest winds gusting as high as 25 mph.
Wednesday night — Partly cloudy with a low around 28.
Thursday — Mostly sunny and breezy with a high near 39.
Thursday night — Mostly clear with a low around 24.
Friday — Mostly sunny with a high near 43.
Friday night — Mostly clear with a low around 27.
Saturday — Sunny with a high near 43.
Saturday night — Partly cloudy, with a low around 24.
Sunday — Mostly sunny with a high near 40.
* * *
A trio of Westside High golfers welcomed the chance Sunday to hit the links for the first time this year instead of working on their games inside a gym.
“It’s just awesome to be outside playing golf so early in the year,” sophomore Mike Hickey said during a break at the Knolls Golf Course. “There’s not much wind and the sun has been out part of the time.”
Hickey and juniors Dillion Ketcham and Brandt Andress were among the scores of Midlanders who poured outdoors over the past several days as a much-too-cloudy February finally gave way to bursts of sunshine and temperatures that climbed well above the average for this time of year.
After a blissful high of 67 on Friday, Omaha cooled a bit but remained warmer than average the rest of the weekend. On Saturday, the high was 54, and on Sunday, Omaha hit 51.
Pamela Wallace of Omaha said that Sunday was her first chance “in a long time” to stretch her legs anywhere but a shopping mall. The 65-year-old woman was watching three frolicking grandchildren at the Benson Park playground near the lagoon.
“When the sun peeks out from the clouds it’s really lovely, isn’t it?” Wallace said. “I’m hoping we’ve seen the last of winter. Still, this is Nebraska. We’d better be ready for anything.”
The immediate-term forecast calls for near-normal to above-average temperatures. The normal high this time of year in Omaha is 40, according to the National Weather Service.
The coming week should bring highs in the mid- to upper 40s, said Dave Samuhel, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, The World-Herald’s weather consultant. There’s a chance for a mix of rain and snow on Tuesday.
“That precipitation will come from a storm passing to the south. It doesn’t appear anything will accumulate, and the temperatures will reach into the upper 40s by the afternoon,” Samuhel said. “Most of this week will be pretty quiet and boring from the perspective of a weatherman.”
Samuhel said another high-pressure system should push into eastern Nebraska and western Iowa by late this week. Temperatures should top out near 50 on Friday and move into the 50s on Sunday, he said.
“Pretty much, we’re moving into spring,” Samuhel said.
The long-term outlook bears that out.
According to the U.S. Climate Prediction Center, the odds favor above-normal temperatures into mid-March. Forecasts for precipitation are a bit sketchier. The odds slightly favor drier-than-average weather, overall, in the weeks ahead.
That forecast was music to the ears of Daniel Cammarano, 31, as he walked Elmwood Golf Course on Sunday. The soft ground at the 100-year-old course meant no golf carts were allowed out.
“I played Eagle Run yesterday and I was a little worried about my game so I came back out today,” Cammarano said. “It’s beautiful out here and I like having the course almost all to myself.”
Dozens of walkers, runners and bikers were buzzing around the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. Martin Lara said he was taking advantage of “this beautiful day” to try to tire out his sons, Martin, 7, and Cruz, 5.
Their Chihuahua, Tita, strained ferociously on his leash as the father and his sons paused to watch the ice-free Missouri River rolling past. Lara said the weather was perfect for the long walk across the bridge from Council Bluffs to Omaha.
“Today, it’s not bad, but yesterday was really something,” he said. “I enjoy every minute.”
World-Herald staff writer Nancy Gaarder contributed to this report.
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