Thursday's Rainfall Puts an End to Drought Conditions
by Kelly Smith, Meteorologist
April 20, 2012 8:49 AM
Wednesday night and Thursday's rainfall added some much needed moisture to the Sioux Empire just in time for spring planting. Many portions of the Sioux Empire are no longer seeing drought conditions that have plagued the area since August 2011.After an unusually wet Spring 2011, many areas saw record flooding this time last year. Record flooding was then followed by an extraordinarily warm and dry fall and winter. Stready rain from last weekend and this week have now improved drought conditions and in many areas erasing the drought all together.Rain moved into the area Wednesday night and continued for many into the early evening Thursday dropping some good amounts of moisture in some much needed areas.
(48 Hour totals) *Automated Weather Observation Site in Yankton is experiencing trouble, coop stations near Yankton reported around a half inch*This week's rainfall when added to last weekends rainfall has created a surplus from the last three months.In Sioux Falls, a little over a half an inch of rainfall Thursday now puts Feb-April rainfall three quarters of an inch over average.
(Three month total liquid precipitation data for Sioux Falls)Large rainfall amounts in the James River Valley have helped Huron and Mitchell improve dramatically. With Huron receiving 0.61" of rain Thursday, a rainfall surplus of over three and a half inches in the last three months exists.
(Huron three month liquid total precipitation)Heavy rain last weekend and almost four tenths of an inch of rain Thursday, have catapulted Mitchell four inches above normal.
(Mitchell Feb-Apr total liquid rainfall)Sioux City was an area last year hit hard by Missouri River flooding, and while flooding potential this year remains low due to below average snow melt and fall/winter drought conditions, much needed moisture has helped replenish dry fields.
(Sioux City Feb-Apr 2012 total rainfall)While many areas of the Sioux Empire are still seeing improvements to drought conditions, some areas are still seeing the drought persist.
(NOAA's US Drought Monitor Valid April 19th 2012)Drought conditions are improving but the drought remains persistent in Minnesota and northern Iowa.
(Palmer Drought Long Term Index Valid April 18 2012)Moderate Drought conditions prevail in southwest Minnesota as well as north west and central Iowa, however rain Saturday morning will likely effect those areas, and both drought monitors have not yet included Thursday's rainfall which will likely improve conditions even more.A large ridge of high pressure moves into the Sioux Empire Sunday bringing back sunny conditions and above average temperatures once again through the middle of next week.In other climate news, NOAA Scientists are forecasting an end to La Nina conditions by the end of April with a return to more neutral ENSO conditions for the summer of 2012. That means in short that the long term forecast for the summer is to experience a typical "normal" summer with an equal chance for above and below average temperatures and precipitation.