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Drought Loosening Its Grips In South Dakota

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For the first time in 8 months, no part of South Dakota is in an exceptional drought. Thanks, in large part to a string of storms that have rolled through the area in the past couple of weeks. But, with most of the precipitation being frozen, the ground isn't seeping up as much h2o as it could.


April 19th, in South Dakota, cold and snow covered. Out of the ordinary for the Mount Rushmore State? No. 


But, the drought's grip is loosening. Even if the April showers were snow showers.   


“A good portion of the moisture will enter the soil. Some of it will run off and not into the soil,” said Dennis Todey.


The Climatologist at South Dakota State University is seeing signs of improvement. But, says things would be better for farmers if this spring's snow fell as rain.


“We would rather be having this fall as rainfall rather than snowfall because it would be doing much more befit than it would be snowfall,” said Todey.


Most people would agree with Todey when he says the cold has got to go.


“We need to warm it up. We can melt the snow off, get the soils warmed and then let the soils dry off sufficiently. Just, to get the farmers out in the field because we do need additional moisture. So, that would be the best case scenario,” said Todey.


While the drought is less severe now, there is still a deficit.   


“We really don't think we have anything in that most severe category, right now. We still have water deficits; we still need to deal with. And soil moisture deficits we need to improve before we start to say things are really good,” said Todey.


And when the snow melts, and the next storm brings just rain, the parched soil will soak most of it up.   


“It truly is amazing how dry some of our soil is. I've been joking about when it does start raining here, there will be this giant sucking noise,” joked Todey.


The drought is by no means over. But, for most of South Dakota, April's storms brought some much needed moisture.


32% of South Dakota is still considered to be in an extreme drought. Most of that area is west of the Missouri River.

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