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Farmers fear long, dry summer as drought persists in south central Nebraska

Organic corn is planted near Deweese (NTV News)

While some look forward to catching some sun at the lake or pool this Memorial Day, others hope to catch some rain.

“Wish we'd get some rain but it's super dry this year,” Nuckolls County farmer Joe Mazour said.

As he wraps up planting with a buddy, Mazour could use some rain.

“I've never seen it this dry this early in the season. Usually May you get your moisture in May and if you miss out on that, it's not good,” Mazour said.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service said while some have seen nice rains, the southern tier of Nebraska has fallen well short.

“It's been a sharp cutoff, feast or famine,” Mike Mortiz said. "Down as much as 8–12 inches since last May. That's quite a bit over the course of the last year.”

There are rain chances, but farmers should expect it to be very hit or miss. And spring appears to be short lived.

Moritz said, “We've literally switched into a summer weather pattern so this above normal temperatures we've having can quickly make drought conditions much worse.”

A year ago, Nebraska was drought free. Now, 20 percent of the state is abnormally dry and a pocket in south central Nebraska is officially in moderate drought.

For a dryland farmer who doesn't irrigate, Joe Mazour says recent storms haven't given much relief.

He says pastures haven't developed as hoped.

“And the wheat looks bad too,” he said.

As he travels to Grand Island often, he notices how dramatic the change is.

“Looks like the garden of Eden up there,” he said.

As he puts seed in the ground, he's hopeful drought won't materialize.

But meteorologists are cautious.

Mike Moritz said, “if we don't see the rain that we might expect the next few weeks, it might be a long, dry summer.”

Meteorologists say we haven't seen much severe weather, just a couple of minor tornadoes EF–0.

On the flipside, areas of south central Nebraska and northern Kansas could use the rain.

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