Record Breaking July
by Kelly Smith, Meteorologist
August 02, 2012 6:45 AM
July was a hot and dry month, that was pretty obvious for anyone in the Sioux Empire to notice. The extended hot and dry weather has caused many problems for farmers and has thrust the entire region into at least some sort of drought condition.July was such a hot month, if you were to average every day's afternoon high temperature almost every single city in the region saw an average afternoon high temperature between five and ten degrees above normal.Sioux Falls ended July almost eight degrees above average making July the third warmest July on record and Yankton at almost seven degrees above average was the second warmest July on record.The warm July spread to the north and west as well where Watertown saw the third warmest July on record with average high temperatures almost six degrees warmer than average. Pierre, Timber Lake and Kennebec all came in with the fourth warmest July's on record with Pierre almost six degrees warmer than their average high temperature.One of the reasons average high temperatures were so warm was due to the fact that we had numerous 100 degree plus days. Winner more than doubled their average 100 degree plus days with over 13. Sioux Falls had six times the normal 100 degree plus days which likely contributed quite a bit to their almost 94 degree average high temperature.On top of the large amount of 100 degree plus days, there was an influx of 90 degree plus days. Every city saw above average days of 90 degrees and higher.If the heat wasn't enough, the double whammy came with a serious lack of rainfall. While some areas saw locally heavy rainfall from isolated summer thunderstorms, other areas like Sioux Falls remained almost completely dry making this July the driest July and summer ever.Southeastern South Dakota and Northwestern Iowa, were exceptionally hard hit with rainfall deficit numbers between five and seven inches below average.
Areas in the northeast saw a little bit of relief towards the end of July, helping their deficit totals. While the entire state is below average on rainfall, Watertown is actually fairing the best thanks to some summer thunderstorms at the end of July.When you combine the oppressive heat and the extended lack of rainfall, we start falling farther into drought conditions. Three months ago only 60 percent of the state was experiencing dry to moderate drought conditions and now the current drought monitor released on August 2nd has over 60 percent of South Dakota in a severe to extreme drought condition with the entire state experiencing some sort of drought. The new release also includes more of southeast South Dakota including the Sioux Falls area into the extreme drought region.Iowa has also been hard hit with drought conditions. Portions of northwest Iowa are between six and seven inches below average and have also sunk farther into extreme drought conditions. Even more surprising is that the entire state of Iowa is in at least severe drought conditions.Nebraska is one of the hardest hit areas of the drought, with 83 percent of the state in an extreme drought and now adding three and a half percent of the state into an exceptional drought-the highest drought category.Minnesota has faired much better than the surrounding state with less than 50 percent of the state experiencing dry conditions. Thanks to heavy thunderstorms in both June and July.A cold front Wednesday night brought much needed rain to many areas within the extreme drought regions, and although rainfall totals were light in many of the dry areas at this point any amount will be of help.
(Wednesday August 1st rainfall totals)A much needed cool down and rain chances are in the forecast for the end of the week and weekend. A potent cold front on Friday has the opportunity to bring a pretty good amount of rain to a widespread area. As always stay with KDLT and KDLT.com for all weather updates. For more information on how the drought has affected the Sioux Empire visit here.