If you're planning to do yard work or tend to the vegetable garden, move those chores to the top of your to-do list.
Here's your incentive: this week's lingering warmth will be followed by cool wet weather next week, including the potential for a significant storm.
Generally sunny skies and highs in the 60s are forecast in Omaha for the rest of the week. But next week, temperatures are forecast to drop, and there's a good chance of rain or snow, said National Weather Service meteorologist Rick Chermok.
"It'll be kind of a raw week," he said.
A couple of systems are moving through, according to Chermok.
Friday night brings a slight chance for storms; Sunday night brings a better chance; and then Tuesday into Wednesday brings the best chance, he said.
The midweek system is expected to be widespread and may drop one-quarter to a half-inch of precipitation, he said. Some areas may receive an inch, he said. With temperatures forecast to drop, the precipitation could fall as rain or snow.
The midweek system will be worth watching for those with travel plans.
AccuWeather Inc. reports that it could bring heavy snow to the Nebraska Panhandle, North Platte area and west into Colorado and Wyoming.
The rest of the Nebraska and Iowa are likely to get rain or a rain-snow mix. The system is expected to be big enough to bring snow across the northern U.S. and severe weather to areas further south, according to AccuWeather.
Horticulturist Kathleen Cue said gardeners should not be intimidated by next week's forecast. This is a good time, she said to plant grass seed and cool season vegetables such as spinach, chard, kale, lettuce, radishes, onions, peas, broccoli, cauliflower and potatoes. The rain or snow will be well-timed for anything that is planted, she said.
It's still too cold, she said, to apply pre-emergent herbicides in lawns or to plant tender vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes.
As long as your soil is ready to be worked, you can plant these cool-season vegetables, said Cue, an educator with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Douglas and Sarpy County. To test your garden soil, squeeze a clump in your hand. If it stays compacted, it's too wet to work in. If it crumples when you let go, it's ready for planting. The reason you avoid planting in soil that's too wet is the compaction that you cause makes it harder for plants to extractoxygen, moisture and nutrients from the soil.
The City of Omaha is collecting yard waste, so if you can put materials from your yard curbside, said Marty Grate, Omaha's environmental services manager. Crews are putting yard waste in trash trucks, but later this spring it will be collected for use in composting.
Grate said the city needs a proper ratio of green to brown plant matter to compost, so it is waiting for the landscape to green up. That will provide the green material needed to balance out the leaves collected last fall, he said.
"It’s all weather dependent," he said. "We are monitoring on a weekly basis."