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Dry Conditions Worsen While the Heat Returns



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For the first time in a couple of years, widespread drought is gripping the area.  In just a weeks time, conditions have drastically deteriorated.  Every location in our area has increased by one drought category.  Some areas are so bad that burn bans have been issued.  Sioux Falls is one of the harder hit locations with one of the top 5 driest starts to summer ever.  Conditions only get worse south of I-90 with many locations receiving less then 50% of their average yearly rainfall so far in 2012.  Unfortunately the drought is likely to worsen before it gets better with another heat wave possible by the end of the weekend.


Drought conditions have are now affecting all of us with a severe drought forming in parts of the south.  Parts of the east appear to be in the best shape right now with dry conditions posted from Huron to Watertown and Brookings.



(Current Drought Conditions showing over half the area under a moderate drought with severe drought developing across parts of the south.)

Areas in the northeast are seeing less of an impact of drought conditions because of one good soaking rainfall the area experienced in June with widespread rainfall amounts of 1-3 inches.  The Palmer drought index varies from -2.0 to -4.0 across the state.




(Palmer drought severity index)

The entire region has had well below rainfall in the month of June. June was so dry in fact that many parts of the area have seen between 25 and 50 percent of the average June rainfall.




(Below normal precipitation)

Dry weather combined with well above average temperatures contributed to cause very dry conditions. During the first week of July temperatures were well above average with five days in a row with heat index values into the triple digits and temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees above average.



The southeastern part of our area has really fared the worst, with almost 6 inches below average in Spencer, Iowa and nearly 5 inches below average rainfall in Sioux Falls.



(Current Rainfall deficit)

Most cities in the Sioux Empire have seen rainfall deficits between 2 and 6 inches however the one exception is Watertown who has rainfall totals slightly over average.



(Current Rainfall Deficit)

At this point in the growing season, the extreme heat and dry conditions are just starting to affect Corn Crops. According to the USDA the majority of South Dakota's corn crop was in Good to Fair condition. However one thing to note is that lack of rainfall this week will likely allow corn crops to deteriorate quickly.



Soybeans in the state fared similarily in the Good to Fair category, but it is quite evident that the lack of moisture is starting to become an issue.



The good news is that there are a few chances for rain showers in the forecast: Thursday, Thursday night and Friday to be exact. However, storms will be very scattered in nature allowing some areas to see rain while others may not see much if any at all. On the other hand, those that do not see rain in the next 48 hours will likely fall deeper into drought conditions as a strong ridge of high pressure will move back into the region creating very warm and dry conditions into next week.

Temperatures this weekend will warm into the low to mid 90's but a heat wave will settle in for the beginning of next week warming afternoon high temperatures into the upper 90's east and even triple digits west.


(GFS Model- Forecasted Surface temperatures for Monday July 16th)

Heat Index values are likely to once again climb into the triple digits as dew points are forecasted into the low to mid 70's. Combine humidity and hot temperatures and it becomes a dangerous combination.


As always with a long term forecast, there will be variation in outcomes within the next 7 days. It is quite possible that this potential heat wave could occur by the start of next week. If this scenario should pan out the eastern portion of the Sioux Empire would likely experience heat index values between 100-110°.
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