Extreme Drought Conditions Expand Across South Dakota

15% of South Dakota Under Extreme Drought Conditions... Part Of Possible Long Term Area

The bad news continues for corn and soybean farmers across the South Dakota; the drought conditions have worsened across central portions of the state with now 15% of South Dakota underneath extreme drought conditions. The latest data from the Drought Mitigation Center shows a small area of extreme drought conditions developing in south parts of the Missouri River Valley.

Drought Data, July 27th

The latest drought data shows a small area of extreme drought conditions developing in Lyman, Tripp, Jerauld, Brule and Buffalo counties and, though outside the forecast area, the extreme drought conditions also expanded in Meade, Ziebach as well as Haakon counties. While 15% of South Dakota, around 4% of the state’s population, is underneath the extreme drought, over half of the state is either underneath moderate or severe drought conditions.

The entire state is underneath abnormally dry conditions. While the extreme drought conditions have expanded, there were some improvements in the extreme drought area across the northwest. Another small area of severe drought conditions have developed in northeastern Nebraska to include Clay county.

Extreme Drought Patches, July 27th

Some more potentially bad news is that parts of the Sioux Empire… the drought could become a long term drought. Looking at the Northern Plains, there’s an area in a black circle that includes northwestern and westcentral parts of South Dakota and expands into Northern Dakota and Montana. The severity, with 12% of Montana and 8% of North Dakota underneath exceptional drought conditions, isn’t the deciding factor, it’s the length of time that the drought persists. Short term droughts, per the Drought Mitigation Center, typically lasts less than 6 months while long term droughts last longer than 6 months.

July 27th Drought Conditions, Area in Circle Possibly Becoming Long-Term

But there is some good news, we have had seen rain across the area, especially earlier this week on Tuesday the 25th. If you remember, that’s when a line of severe thunderstorms, including a couple tornado warned cells in the Brookings/Moody county area, developed in the mid/late afternoon and slowly pushed off towards the southeast. In their wake, they dropped quite a lot of rain… beneficial rain fell in parts of the moderate and severe drought stricken area. Places that saw a particularly large amount of rain were near Plankinton and near Clearfield in Tripp county. In addition, small parts of Campbell, Walworth and Edmunds counties have seen enough rain since the last drought update, which was on July 20th, to only be in severe drought conditions.

48 Hour Rainfall Totals taken July 27th

There’s more good news; the Climate Prediction Center has scaled back on the percentage chance of seeing drier than normal conditions for the Sioux Empire over the next two weeks. While the 6-10 day outlook still has a 40% chance for drier than normal conditions, the 8-14 day outlook has the Sioux Empire in a the N category. The N category means that there’s an equal chance of an area seeing either drier or wetter than normal conditions. Like a daily weather forecast, the Climate Prediction Center updates their 6-10 day and 8-14 day forecast is updated daily. Their one month and three month outlook also places the Sioux Empire and Northern Plains in a equal chance to see either drier or wetter than normal conditions.

Climate Prediction Center 8-14 Day Precipitation Outlook


Climate Prediction Center 6-10 Day Precipitation Outlook


Blaise Keller
KDLT Morning Meteorologist
Twitter: @blaisekellerr

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