2006 Annual Climate Summary

Drought Persists
Precipitation was below normal across the Black Hills region for the seventh consecutive year. Many weather observing stations recorded less than 75 percent of their normal moisture, with only the northern Black Hills site measuring above normal precipitation amounts. The greatest shortfalls occurred during the summer, when precipitation averaged only 30 to 50 percent of normal.

Rapid City Airport Precipitation:
Year Total Departure From Normal
2000 15.13 -1.51
2001 14.29 -2.35
2002 10.28 -6.36
2003 10.97 -5.67
2004 13.16 -3.48
2005 14.41 -2.23
2006 11.73 -4.91 Total: -26.51

Gillette Precipitation:
Year Total Departure From Normal
2000 14.62 -2.52
2001 15.87 -1.27
2002 14.28 -2.86
2003 15.95 -1.19
2004 11.42 -5.72
2005 14.34 -2.80
2006 10.34 -6.80 Total: -23.16

See the table at the bottom of this article for a summary of precipitation reports for other stations.

Warm Winter
January 2006 was the warmest January on record. Temperatures were above normal every day of the month—the first time since November 1923—and did not drop below zero at any location, which has never happened before. Mild conditions were interrupted briefly when a blast of Arctic air dropped low temperatures to 20 to 30 below zero February 17 and 18.

Late Snowstorms
The winter season was almost devoid of significant storms. One exception was an area of freezing rain that downed power lines and caused widespread power outages over northwestern South Dakota January 1.

The dry pattern changed drastically during spring, with snowstorms on two consecutive weekends in March. The first storm left 12 to 24 inches of snow across the southern Black Hills, southwestern South Dakota, and south central South Dakota March 12. The second storm blasted western South Dakota March 18-21, leaving six to 14 inches of snow across most of the area and as much as 20 inches around Rapid City and southwestern South Dakota.
The strongest storm of the season brought heavy, wet snow to northwestern South Dakota and the Black Hills April 18-20 and heavy rain across southwestern and south central South Dakota. Ten to 24 inches of snow were reported in northwestern South Dakota with 16 to 30 inches in the Bear Lodge Mountains and 40 to 70 inches in the northern Black Hills. Lead measured 74 inches of snow and Deadwood reported 55 inches of snow during the three-day storm. Severe thunderstorms developed ahead of the storm on April 17—the earliest reports of large hail and strong winds on record for northwestern South Dakota.
Another snowstorm brought five to ten inches of snow across far western South Dakota, the Black Hills, and northeastern Wyoming April 24. The snow season lasted into May, when the Black Hills received four to eight inches of snow on the 9th.

Severe Thunderstorms
The region recorded a storm-related fatality on April 17 when thunderstorm winds tipped over a mobile home near Oglala, South Dakota.
Only two brief tornadoes were reported during the summer; one near Newcastle June 9 and the other near Pine Ridge June 10; neither caused any damage.
The town of Faith was hit twice by 70 mph wind gusts during the summer—on June 14 and again August 11. Both storms caused damage to buildings, trees, and power poles.
An unusual thunderstorm remained over Rapid City for more than an hour May 31, dropping large hail and heavy rain and causing minor street flooding.
Instead of rain, many storms produced lightning, which ignited numerous fires over both the Black Hills and plains of South Dakota that scorched thousands of acres.
Hot Summer
The summer was one of the warmest ever recorded for the region. Two heat waves during July produced all-time record high temperatures at ten stations, including a reading of 120 degrees near Usta, South Dakota, which tied the state record high set in Gann Valley in 1936.
Fall Precipitation
The first fall storm brought much colder temperatures and heavy rain to the northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota plains September 21-24, where 1.25 to 2.50 inches of rain was measured. The northern Black Hills received four to six inches of rain. Snow fell above 6000 feet, with Terry Peak and O’Neill Pass reporting ten inches of snow.
Dry conditions returned with the only other significant fall storm leaving four to seven inches of snow in the foothills and eight to 14 inches in the northern Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains November 9 and 10.

Additional information and statistics for each month can be found on the Monthly Climate Summaries web page.

Rapid City Data
The average temperature in Rapid City was 49.7 degrees, tying 1987 as the warmest year on record. The earliest 100 degree temperature was June 14; the temperature reached 100 degrees fifteen days during the summer. Rapid City’s highest temperature of the year was 111 degrees on July 15, which set the all-time record high for the Rapid City Airport. The first widespread frost of the fall occurred September 18.

Temperature Extremes

Station
High
Date(s)
Low
Date
Buffalo* 109 July 28 -15 February 17
Cottonwood 117 July 16 -25 February 18
Deadwood 105 July 28 -23 February 18
Faith 109 July 15, 28, 30 -15 February 18
Gillette 106 July 29 -22 February 18
Interior 114 July 15, 16 -17 February 18
Pine Ridge * 111 July 15 -31 February 18
Phillip * 116 July 15 -20 February 18

Rapid City*

111 July 15 -23 February 18
Winner 112 July 16 -17 February 18

Precipitation Extremes

*Data is from the automated weather station

Station Rainfall Date Snowfall Date
Buffalo* 1.10 June 12

Not available

Cottonwood 1.17 August 27 5.0 March 20
Deadwood 3.62 September 22 38.9 April 19
Faith 1.43 September 22 9.9 March 19
Gillette 1.10 September 22 6.0 November 10
Interior 1.62 September 22 8.5 March 19, 20
Pine Ridge * 1.76 June 9

Not available

Phillip * 0.79 September 22

Not available

Rapid City

0.88 August 27 6.0 March 12
Winner 1.25 September 22 10.0 March 20

Drought Statistics

The table below shows the difference between measured and normal precipitation from 2001 through November 2005 for weather observing stations in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming.

SOUTH DAKOTA STATIONS

ACTUAL
DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL
7 YEAR DEPARTURE
Bison 12.52 -4.31 -9.81
Camp Crook 11.04 -2.98 -10.33
Cedar Butte 16.36 -2.65 -13.83
Cottonwood 2E 12.14 -4.30 -19.84
Custer 18.82 0.75 -9.9
Deadwood 2NE 35.84 8.79 5.78
Dupree 11.17 -4.98 -12.58
Dupree 15SSE 10.65 -6.44 -19.44
East Rapid City 16.59 -2.44 -19.95
Edgemont  10.94 -4.87 -9.58
Elm Springs 3ESE 12.30 -4.28 -13.45
Faith 15.05 -0.96 -3.77
Fort Meade 19.62 -0.19 -19.28
Glad Valley 2W 10.92 -6.21 -16.32
Harrington 15.71 -4.07 -14.76
Hermosa 3SSW 16.43 0.20 -18.84
Hill City 17.45 -3.20 -19.07

Hot Springs

13.41 -3.57 -17.07
Interior 13.07 -4.62 -16.71
Kadoka 13.59 -3.10 -4.3
Lead 33.12 6.18 -6.87
Lemmon 12.27 -5.32 -22.31
Long Valley 16.24 -1.28 -2.58
Martin 15.11 -3.23 -8.74
Milesville 5NE 14.06 -5.05 -16.10
Mission 17.59 -2.82 -10.08
Mission 14S 17.26 -1.20 -1.27
Mount Rushmore 19.28 -1.61 -15.06
Newell 12.67 -2.52 -20.02
Oelrichs 14.46 -1.98 -8.11
Pactola Dam 17.69 -2.31 -17.15

Rapid City Airport

11.72 -4.51 -26.11
Red Owl 12.78 -2.99 -0.24
Redig 11NE 11.24 -3.85 -10.3
Spearfish 18.18 -3.28 -30.44
Winner 16.12 -7.04 -34.02
Wood 16.69 -1.73 3.63

WYOMING STATIONS

ACTUAL
DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL
7 YEAR DEPARTURE
Colony 9.56 -4.87 -29.54
Devils Tower 19.3 2.42 -9.39
Dillinger 11.69 -2.45 -10.18
Gillette 6SE 10.32 -6.15 -21.97
Hulett 16.56 0.36 -7.77
Newcastle 14.65 -0.81 -5.81
Upton 15.05 0.64 -7.94
Wright 12W 9.61 -0.95 2.65

COLOR KEY

More than 3 inches above normal

 

Above Normal

0-3 inches above normal

 

0-5 inches below normal

0-2 inches below normal

 

5-10 inches below normal

2-4 inches below normal

 

10-15 inches below normal

4-6 inches below normal

 

15-20 inches below normal

Greater than 6 inches below normal

 

Greater than 20 inches below normal

Red station name indicates some missing data

Return to Climate Summaries


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