National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Our Top Picks - Memorable Weather Events of 2016

As we close out 2016, it's time to take a look back and review some of the significant weather events which occurred across south central Nebraska and north central Kansas. The events that made our top picks include varying weather extremes from winter weather to severe weather to flooding. 

The winter of 2015-2016 was on the road for below normal snowfall until the historic blizzard on February 2nd hit, producing significant snowfall amounts. Winds were intense and when combined with the snow, whiteout conditions developed. Snowfall amounts hit records, incredible snow drifts were observed and it took days to dig out. 

The severe weather season began early with large hail and tornadoes observed in April and early May. Fortunately, the tornado near Superior on April 24th was more of a "photo-op" than a damage producer. On May 9, a small tornado skipped across Sandy Creek Schools east of Fairfield, NE around 5:00 PM. Again, damage was minor and most of the students and staff were gone for the day. The rest of the spring and summer was relatively quiet with regards to severe weather.  

Late fall thunderstorms brought a rare occurrence as multiple tornadoes were reported on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. As if the post-Thanksgiving tornadoes weren't rare enough, another round of thunderstorms moved through the area on Christmas Day, producing damaging straight-line winds and at least 4 tornadoes!

In addition, the area saw extreme weather in terms of climate with summer temperatures topping the century mark and low temperatures plummeting well below zero. Precipitation amounts ranged from only a few hundredths for an entire month to over seven inches in a 24-hour period. Though there was rain to be had, the year closed with an significant increase in abnormally dry, moderate drought or even severe drought (Kearney County, NE) conditions across about half of the area, especially west of U.S. Highway 281. This was a marked change from one year ago when no part of south central Nebraska and north central was considered even abnormally dry. 

February 2nd blizzard.  
Photo by Danny Bruntz (6N of Hastings, NE)

nws logo Media use of NWS Web News Stories is encouraged!
Please acknowledge the NWS as the source of any news information accessed from this site.
nws logo