autumn summer

Drivers contend with small lakes as they head north through torrential rain on Saddle Creek Road near the intersection of Farnam Street on Wednesday.

The official arrival of fall on Wednesday morning may have slipped by unnoticed, given the relatively mild summer Nebraska and Iowa have enjoyed.

Early indications are that fall will start out warmer than average and may be rainy, but that doesn’t mean the region will see a repeat of Wednesday’s record rainfall.

A look at how the region's weather is likely to shape up:

Fall forecast

The U.S. Climate Prediction Center says the odds favor a wetter-than-average fall in Nebraska, but less so in Iowa. On temperature, Iowa is projected to see a warmer-than-average fall, while Nebraska’s temperature forecast is less clear.

What’s normal?

Daytime highs at this time of year in Omaha average in the mid-70s, with nighttime lows averaging 50 degrees. By mid-November, overnight lows average around freezing, and 50 is the average daytime high. Temperatures won’t start warming up again until late January.

Big player

El Niño, a weather pattern that stems from warmer-than-average waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, is expected to dominate weather in the months ahead, barring something unforeseen. Overall, the Climate Prediction Center anticipates the northern U.S. will be warmer and drier than usual and the southern U.S. will be cooler and wetter than usual. This could result in a roller-coaster in the Midlands as the two divergent air masses do battle.

For the record

Nebraska averaged its 42nd coolest and 25th wettest summer out of 121 years. Southeast Nebraska was especially rainy, averaging its ninth wettest. Iowa averaged its 28th coolest and seventh wettest. Among the precipitation records set this summer was one in Omaha. The 3.58 inches that fell Aug. 18 broke the record for that calendar day of 2.57 inches that had been set in 1876. Likewise, Wednesday saw a calendar-day record set in Omaha, when more than 5 inches of rain fell. North Platte saw a record low on Aug. 23 when the temperature bottomed out at 40 degrees, one below the previous record set in 1892 and matched in 1972. On Tuesday, the 97 degrees in McCook broke the previous high of 96 set in 2010.

Next up

Rain is likely today, followed by a series of Top 10 days. Sunshine and highs in the 70s and 80s are forecast for the Omaha area Friday into Tuesday.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1102, nancy.gaarder@owh.com

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