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A Look Back at Memorable Weather Events During 2017

As 2017 comes to an end, 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 and flooding. 

A major ice storm arrived in the middle of January on the 15th and 16th, when prolonged freezing rain caused significant ice accumulations of 0.25 inch to 0.75 inch across north central Kansas and ice amounts of 0.10 inch to 0.50 inch across south central Nebraska.  The ice created slick outdoor surfaces, caused minor damage to trees and power lines and closed schools for a couple of days as ice melted and refroze.  Winter wasn't over for western portions of south central Nebraska as a rare, late season system dumped a swath of heavy snowfall of 6 to 12 inches for locations west of a line from Ord to Arapahoe, NE from April 30th into May 1st. The heavy, wet snow and strong winds caused power outages in rural locations which lasted for several days in some areas.

Overall snow amounts for the 2016-2017 season were below normal across the majority of south central Nebraska and north central Kansas, with the exception of Ord and Greeley, NE where snowfall averaged a few inches above normal.  For the tri-cities, Grand Island received 9.2 inches (normal snowfall is 29.1 inches), Hastings accumulated 11.1 inches (normal snowfall is 28.8 inches) and Kearney picked up 13.2 inches (normal snowfall is 23.6 inches).

2017 was not void of severe weather, but thankfully there wasn't a whole lot. NWS Hastings confirmed three tornadoes for the season: near Exeter (Fillmore County), Edgar (Clay County) and in northwest Rooks County. All three were rated EF-0 and caused minimal damage at most. On June 13, tennis ball sized hail caused widespread damage around Grand Island and Hastings. In Clarks, a 92 mph wind gust was measured from a home weather station from a picturesque storm. Mid-August brought the final significant event of the severe season and was comprised of half dollar size hail and flood causing rainfall. Osceola measured 7-9" of rain and experienced the worst of the flooding.

Fall saw it's fair share of extremes with a cold end to October and the first snow of the 2017-2018 season falling on Halloween.  The first couple weeks of November were cold, but temperatures rebounded by Thanksgiving weekend with record highs in the 70s set November 23rd and 24th.  December began warm with temperatures averaging above normal for the first three weeks of the month, then the weather turned abruptly colder for the last ten days of December.  Record low temperatures were set at both Grand Island and Hastings on December 26th and 27th (and Hastings again on the 31st) and the week long period from December 25th through December 31st established itself as the coldest on record between those dates. 

January 15-16 Ice Storm.  
Photo by Evita Franco (Grand Island, NE)

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