How This Year’s Drought Compares

One of the Driest Periods We've Seen in some Time

We all know this year has been very dry so far.  In fact, the newest Drought Monitor map shows the drought has increased in coverage once again.  Here’s the updated Precip Report from earlier this morning.

Over 350,000 people are affected by the drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.  The question is, how does this year’s drought stack up against past years in the Sioux Empire?  Let’s break it down to how much rain a few of our areas have seen this year compared to years past from January 1st-July 12th.

Sioux Falls (14.49″ normal amount):

  • 2017 – 3.45″ below normal
  • 2016 – 0.61″ below normal
  • 2015 – 1.67″ below normal
  • 2014 – 4.65″ above normal
  • 2013 – 2.35″ above normal

Aberdeen (12.12″ normal amount):

  • 2017 – 4.69″ below normal
  • 2016 – 1.80″ below normal
  • 2015 – 1.17″ above normal
  • 2014 – 2.88″ below normal
  • 2013 – 0.85″ above normal

Pierre (11.77″ normal amount):

  • 2017 – 4.65″ below normal
  • 2016 – 1.33″ below normal
  • 2015 – 2.66″ above normal
  • 2014 – 0.86″ above normal
  • 2013 – 1.96″ above normal

As you can see, between Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, and Pierre we are very dry compared to years past.  The last time we’ve seen a dry spell this bad according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, was in May-June 2013 when over 20% of the state of South Dakota was in an extreme drought.  Going further back to April 2013, over 60% of the state of South Dakota was in an extreme drought.  Even worse was in April 2013 when nearly 20% off the state saw an exceptional drought, something we haven’t seen anywhere so far this year in the Sioux Empire.

While we may be very dry now, so far we don’t compare to 2013’s drought.  However, that could still change as it doesn’t look like precipitation chances will be great over the next week.  If the trend continues, we could be in even in worse shape in the next few weeks.  It’s a good idea to try to conserve water now.  Blaise did a blog on how to save water during times of drought.


Kole Fehling
Twitter: @KoleFehlingWX
Facebook: Meteorologist Kole Fehling



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