Low-level moisture from the Gulf of Mexico combined with upper-level moisture from remnants of Hurricane Barbara over the Pacific came together to dump several inches of rain in south-central and southern Nebraska on Monday.
Rain totals in west central Nebraska ranged from 5.74 inches reported at the Lexington airport to .15 inches at Imperial, said Bill Taylor, National Weather Service meteorologist in North Platte.
The highest totals overall, Taylor said were 8.33 inches 5 miles southwest of Hildreth in Franklin County, 8.88 inches at Loomis and 8.52 inches 4 miles south of Riverdale in Buffalo County.
“Downtown North Platte had 3.14 inches, but we only recorded 1.41 officially at the airport,” Taylor said. “There was a very narrow band of moisture that dumped rain over several rounds in North Platte.”
Taylor said the heaviest moisture was along U.S. Highway 83 and east.
“Stockville reported 5.27 inches and Eustis had 4.56,” Taylor said. “There was flash flooding reported in Frontier County and over into south central Nebraska, Lexington and Kearney.”
Taylor said the low-level moisture created the humidity.
“The moisture from the hurricane was caught up in the jet stream at 15,000 to 25,000 feet off the ground,” Taylor said. “We also had an upper-level trough moving in from the West and that helps provide some additional dynamics for thunderstorm development.”
Taylor said it all came together over southern and southwest Nebraska Monday night.
“This combination comes together fairly frequently,” Taylor said. “Not every year.”
Including the 1.41 inches Monday, North Platte has had 17.25 inches since Jan. 1, Taylor said, 5.56 inches above normal.
Last year was wet as well, he said, with a total of about 15.32 inches by this time in 2018.
“We’ve had several years in a row of above-normal precipitation,” Taylor said.
The record rainfall for North Platte in July was 8.47 inches in 1879.
“This year we have had 2.60 inches of rain in July,” Taylor said. “Last month, in June, we recorded 3.59 inches.”
The record for June is 10.47 inches in 1951, Taylor said.
“What is interesting now is that a ridge of high pressure is going to build into the area over the next two to three weeks,” Taylor said. “We will have above-normal temps and lower precipitation.”