2008 Annual Climatic and Hydrologic Summary for Western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming 

Temperature and Precipitation Summary

Temperatures in 2008 averaged 0.9 degrees below normal for the region. Gillette 4SE in northeast Wyoming was the warm spot, averaging 0.5 degrees above normal. The cold spots were in Winner and Newell where temperatures averaged 2.1 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 134 percent of normal across the region, with record precipitation reported at several locations. . The average surplus for the year was 6.39 inches. The highest precipitation total was at Deadwood 2NE where 45.17 inches of precipitation occurred making it the third wettest year in Deadwood. It was the wettest year in South Dakota since 1946 when a state record 48.42 inches of precipitation fell in Deadwood. Edgemont was the dry spot with only 15.52 inches. In northeastern Wyoming Upton 14ENE was the wet spot with 26.74 inches, while Wright 12W was the dry spot with 15.54 inches.

All-time record annual rainfall was recorded in Lead with 42.92 inches, Spearfish with 36.08 inches, Milesville 5NE with 31.28 inches, Maurine 12SW with 29.55 inches, and at Devils Tower where 26.05 inches fell. (A detailed table on all records set in 2008 can be found below). 

Significant storms of 2008

Snowstorms of 2008…                                      

The first significant snowfall of the season occurred on January 14 and 15 when one to three inches of snow fell in northeast Wyoming and four to eight inches fell in the northern Black Hills and Bear Lodge mountains. A week later on January 20 and 21, the northern Black Hills had 8 to 15 inches, with four to eight inches over northeast Wyoming and three to six inches on the western South Dakota plains and in the southern and central Black Hills.

The next snowstorm hit the region on February 9 through 11. The heaviest snows occurred in the northern Black Hills where 8 to 16 inches fell, with five to ten inches in the Bear Lodge Mountains. On the South Dakota plains, northwestern and south central areas saw three to six inches.  On February 17 and 18, 10 to 15 inches of snow fell in the northern Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains, with one to three inches on the plains of northeast Wyoming.

Snow fell in northeast Wyoming and western South Dakota along and south of Interstate 90 on March 16. The heaviest snows fell across southwest South Dakota and in the southern and central Black Hills where four to eight inches were reported. Elsewhere in western South Dakota and in northeast Wyoming one to three inches of snow was reported. Another storm on March 26 brought three to six inches of snow to northwest South Dakota and across northern portions of Campbell and Crook counties in northeast Wyoming.  On March 30 and 31 widespread snow fell over western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming with the northern Black Hills and Bear Lodge mountains seeing five to ten inches of snow, with five to eight inches over south central South Dakota. Across northeast Wyoming, southwest South Dakota and the central plains of western South Dakota, three to five inches fell.

There were two snowstorms in April, the first on April 5 and 6 when a narrow band of 8 to 14 inches of snow fell in northern Butte and northern Meade counties. Elsewhere in northwest South Dakota, the northern Black Hills, the Bear Lodge Mountains and northern portions of Crook and Campbell counties in northeast Wyoming, four to eight inches of snow fell. On April 10 and 11, heavy snow fell in the northern Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains with 9 to 15 inches of snow, while 8 to 14 inches fell over south central South Dakota. Elsewhere on the plains of western South Dakota one to four inches of snow fell.

A record setting blizzard struck far western South Dakota, the Northern Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains from May 1 through 3.  Record May snowfalls of two to four feet fell across the northern Black Hills, Bear Lodge Mountains and over Harding and Butte counties in northwest South Dakota. Snowfall of 6 to 14 inches fell in far western Perkins and Meade counties, over the central Black Hills, and along the eastern foothills. On the plains of northeastern Wyoming and across southwestern South Dakota one to four inches of snow fell. A late May snowstorm brought three to six inches of snow to the northern Black Hills on May 26 and May 27.

An early fall snowstorm on October 9 through 12 brought 8 to 14 inches of snow to northeast Wyoming, with 6 to 12 inches in the northern and central Black Hills. Butte and Harding counties saw three to seven inches of snow.

On November 5 and 6, another record setting blizzard struck western South Dakota. Over the northern Black Hills 40 to 60 inches of snow fell with Lead reporting 54 inches and Deadwood 2NE 45 inches. On the plains of western South Dakota 10 to 20 inches was reported over northwestern South Dakota with 4 to 10 inches elsewhere. Little to no snow fell in southwestern South Dakota. In northeast Wyoming one to three inches fell in Campbell County with 4 to 12 inches over Weston and Crook counties. The Bear Lodge mountains saw 12 to 24 inches of snow. Another storm brought 8 to 14 inches of snow to northeast Wyoming and four to eight inches of snow to the northern Black Hills on November 12 through 14. On November 21 and 22 northwestern South Dakota had two to five inches of snow.

December was yet another active month in 2008. On December 2 and 3, the plains of western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming reported one to three inches of snow, with three to six inches in the Black Hills. The northern Black Hills had five to eight inches of snow on December 8 and 9. More snow fell December 11 through 14 with 8 to 12 inches in the northern Black Hills and two to four inches elsewhere. Bitter arctic air covered the region from December 14 through 16, with highs near or below zero and many locations reaching 20 below zero at night. December 22 and 23 saw another two to four inches of snow across the region. On December 26 and 27, another two to four inches of snow fell across northwest South Dakota.

2008 Severe Weather Summary

The 2008 severe weather season was an active one. The National Weather Service in Rapid City issued 497 severe thunderstorm warnings and 22 tornado warnings from May through September. During the severe weather season, there were 14 tornadoes, hail as large as softballs and winds in excess of 80 miles per hour reported across the region. 

Windstorms of 2008

There were two powerful windstorms that struck western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming during the year. On January 3 and 4, a strong pressure gradient developed over northeast Wyoming and far western South Dakota producing winds of 50 to 70 mph...with a peak gust of 91 mph 5 miles west of Spearfish. On January 27 a strong pressure gradient developed across western South Dakota bringing high winds to the region. Winds of 50 to 70 mph were reported in the northern and eastern foothills and across the plains of western South Dakota, mainly north of I-90. A maximum wind gust of 95 mph was reported 7 miles southwest of Hermosa.
 

2008 Flooding Summary

Severe drought conditions persisted across northeast Wyoming and western South Dakota during the first few months of 2008. A large blizzard in early May dumped up to 48 inches of snow with snow water equivalent values of three to five inches. Warm temperatures which followed accompanied by heavy rain of one to two inches, quickly melted the snow and caused flooding from the northern Black Hills, north to the North Dakota border. Creeks overflowed and inundated several roads and destroyed numerous culverts in Harding, Butte, Lawrence, western Meade and northern Crook counties. A flood watch was issued as soon as the blizzard warning ended and the first flood warning was disseminated before the creeks and streams were full.
 
On May 21, anticipated widespread heavy rain prompted a flood watch due to the already saturated conditions. Forty-two hours later, small creeks and streams over west-central South Dakota began to flood. As the rain continued, flood warnings were posted for most of western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming. Several basements were flooded, a few homes had water in them and several roads and culverts were washed out. Total rainfall reports of two to five inches were common over four days.
 
Already saturated conditions in May led to additional flooding in early June. Two forecast points, Cheyenne River near Plainview (PLNS2) and the Belle Fourche River near Elm Springs (EMSS2) reported record high flows. Several other locations along Elk Creek, the Belle Fourche River, the Moreau River and Horse Creek reported near record high flows, with river levels reaching into the top five highest levels ever recorded. Several homes, basements, state highways and secondary roads were inundated. Numerous stock dams failed and the spillway on Newell Lake threaten to fail. Water levels in Belle Fourche Reservoir rose into the flood control pool and water had to be released down Owl Creek. Nine counties issued disaster declarations and South Dakota declared a State Emergency Declaration because of the flooding. Damage estimates are ongoing; however total damages may reach into the millions of dollars.
 
On July 6, a flash flood occurred in Rochford, SD when three to six inches of rain fell in two hours from O’Neil Pass to Roubaix Lake along north Rapid Creek and Rapid Creek upstream of Pactola Reservoir. Several culverts were washed out, several sections of roads were damaged and a home was flooded. The river gage on Rapid Creek at Silver City above Pactola Reservoir indicated the flows could be the second highest on record.
 
On the morning of July 18, a flash flood occurred in Fall River County from Hot Springs to Cascade Falls when several inches of rain fell in a short period of time. Rainfall rates of one to two inches in a half hour flooded roads and yards.
 
On July 22, a strong upper level disturbance brought severe thunderstorms and flash flooding to northeast Wyoming and far western South Dakota. In northeast Wyoming, flash flooding occurred in northeast Campbell County where three to six inches of rain fell from near Weston to the Montana/Wyoming border. The flood washed out several roads in Wyoming and Montana and caused one fatality. A flash flood also occurred in western Fall River County where several secondary roads had water running across them.
 
Several small stream flood advisories were also issued in July for flooding in low lying spots and poor drainage areas in the following counties: Fall River, Shannon, Custer, Pennington, Lawrence, Meade, Tripp and Bennett.
 
On August 10, a flash flood occurred in Custer County when runoff from heavy rain washed out a county road between Red Canyon Creek and Pleasant Valley Creek. Lowland flooding caused by heavy rain was observed in the northern Black Hills, in portions of Tripp County, around Custer State Park and Keystone, along Beaver Creek in Custer and Fall River counties and along Cascade Creek in Fall River County. No significant damage was reported with this flooding.
 
In September and October, drier conditions prevailed. Creeks and rivers continued to flow, but no flooding problems were reported. A large blizzard in early November and below normal temperatures in mid December caused most of the streams around the area to freeze for the winter.
 
Temperature Extremes

Station
            High
Date(s)
            Low
Date
Buffalo *
101
August 30
-22
December 15
Cottonwood
100
July 31
-21
January 24
Deadwood
94
August 30
-22
December 15
Faith
96
August 31
-20
December 15
Gillette
99
August 1
-20
December 15
Interior
100
August 21
-15
December 15
Pine Ridge *
99
August 2
-23
December 15
Phillip *
101
August 21, 30
-17
January 24
Rapid City Airport*
99
August 30, 31
-19
December 15
Winner
99
July 31
-14
December 23

Precipitation Extremes

Station
          Rainfall
Date
          Snowfall
Date
Buffalo *
0.86
June 4
Not available
Cottonwood
1.87
May 23
4.3
November 7
Deadwood
3.10
June 5
33.4
November 6
Faith
2.43
May 5
12.8
April 6
Gillette
1.35
May 23
8.0
October 12
Interior
2.54
September 23
6.0
November 6
Pine Ridge *
1.88
November 5
Not available
Phillip *
2.49
June 5
Not available
Rapid City
2.09
May 22
11.0
May 2
Winner
2.52
June 6
7.0
April 11

* Data is from the automated weather station 

ALLTIME DAILY/MONTHLY RECORDS SET IN 2008
LOCATION
DATE
NEW RECORD
OLD RECORD
DATE
Newell
11/06/2008
18.0 inches of snowfall
15.8 inches of snowfall
05/01/1967
Fort Meade
May 2008
11.49 inches of rainfall
11.45 inches of rainfall
June 1976
Maurine 12SW
May 2008
8.15 inches of rainfall
7.21 inches of rainfall
May 1995
Newell
May 2008
9.37 inches of rainfall
8.60 inches of rainfall
May 1962
ANNUAL RAINFALL RECORDS SET IN 2008
LOCATION
YEAR
NEW RECORD
OLD RECORD
YEAR
Devils Tower
2008
26.05 inches of rainfall
25.05 inches of rainfall
1982
Lead
2008
42.92 inches of rainfall
42.76 inches of rainfall
1962
Maurine 12SW
2008
29.55 inches of rainfall
28.36 inches of rainfall
1986
Milesville 5NE
2008
31.28 inches of rainfall
30.64 inches of rainfall
1982
Spearfish
2008
36.08 inches of rainfall
35.94 inches of rainfall
1982
MONTHLY RECORDS SET IN 2008
LOCATION
MONTH
NEW RECORD
OLD RECORD
YEAR
Camp Crook
May
24.0 inches of snowfall
23.0 inches of snowfall
1950
Devils Tower, WY
May
15.0 inches of snowfall
8.0 inches of snowfall
1950
Lead
May
61.6 inches of snowfall
37.5 inches of snowfall
1965
Maurine 12SW
May
12.0 inches of snowfall
4.0 inches of snowfall
1991, 2005
Redig 11N
May
15.0 inches of snowfall
10.5 inches of snowfall
1950
Spearfish
May
24.0 inches of snowfall
10.5 inches of snowfall
1950
Fort Meade
May
11.49 inches of rainfall
11.20 inches of rainfall
1962
Maurine 12SW
May
8.15 inches of rainfall
7.21 inches of rainfall
1995
Newell
May
9.37 inches of rainfall
8.60 inches of rainfall
1962
Winner
May
54.2 degree avg. temperature
54.7 degree avg. temperature
1995
Maurine 12SW
June
5.94 inches of rainfall
5.73 inches of rainfall
1984
Milesville 5NE
June
8.67 inches of rainfall
6.39 inches of rainfall
1984
Bison
November
18.0 inches of snowfall
15.5 inches of snowfall
1985
Bison
November
2.36 inches of rainfall
2.29 inches of rainfall
1970
Faith
November
2.00 inches of rainfall
1.90 inches of rainfall
1985
Interior 3NE
November
2.34 inches of rainfall
1.98 inches of rainfall
2000
Milesville 5NE
November
2.33 inches of rainfall
1.90 inches of rainfall
1977
Newell
November
2.53 inches of rainfall
1.81 inches of rainfall
2000
DAILY RECORDS SET IN 2008
LOCATION
DATE
NEW RECORD
OLD RECORD
DATE
Faith
04/06/2008
12.8 inches of snowfall
11.2 inches of snowfall
04/18/1970
Camp Crook
05/01/2008
20.0 inches of snowfall
12.0 inches of snowfall
05/11/1943
Devils Tower, WY
05/02/2008
13.5 inches of snowfall
8.0 inches of snowfall
05/09/1965
Fort Meade
05/02/2008
12.0 inches of snowfall
10.0 inches of snowfall
05/09/1965
Hot Springs
05/02/2008
8.0 inches of snowfall
5.0 inches of snowfall
05/12/2005
Lead
05/02/2008
39.2 inches of snowfall
25.0 inches of snowfall
05/09/1965
Maurine 12SW
05/02/2008
6.0 inches of snowfall
4.0 inches of snowfall
05/03/1991
Rapid City Airport
05/02/2008
11.0 inches of snowfall
7.5 inches of snowfall
05/11/2005
Redig 11N
05/02/2008
10.0 inches of snowfall
8.0 inches of snowfall
05/12/2005
Spearfish
05/03/2008
14.0 inches of snowfall
9.0 inches of snowfall
05/01/1967
Maurine 12SW
05/02/2008
2.55 inches of rainfall
1.94 inches of rainfall
05/06/2007
Dupree
06/05/2008
3.38 inches of rainfall
2.82 inches of rainfall
06/22/1977
Interior 3NE
07/19/2008
2.57 inches of rainfall
2.44 inches of rainfall
07/17/1999
Interior 3NE
09/23/2008
2.54 inches of rainfall
2.24 inches of rainfall
09/05/2004
Bison
11/06/2008
13.0 inches of snowfall
6.0 inches of snowfall
11/23/2003
Camp Crook
11/06/2008
12.0 inches of snowfall
12.0 inches of snowfall
11/07/1945
Fort Meade
11/06/2008
20.0 inches of snowfall
13.8 inches of snowfall
11/27/1989
Lead
11/06/2008
45.1 inches of snowfall
31.9 inches of snowfall
11/01/2000
Lemmon
11/06/2008
11.0 inches of snowfall
11.0 inches of snowfall
11/09/1986
Newell
11/06/2008
18.0 inches of snowfall
8.0 inches of snowfall
11/09/1985
Redig 11N
11/06/2008
15.0 inches of snowfall
9.0 inches of snowfall
11/07/1986
Bison
11/06/2008
1.43 inches of rainfall
1.18 inches of rainfall
11/08/1944
Interior 3NE
11/06/2008
1.53 inches of rainfall
1.19 inches of rainfall
11/08/1977
Maurine 12SW
11/06/2008
2.07 inches of rainfall
1.25 inches of rainfall
11/01/2000
 Milesville 5NE
11/05/2008
0.87 inches of rainfall
0.84 inches of rainfall
11/08/1977
Newell
11/06/2008
2.10 inches of rainfall
1.40 inches of rainfall
11/01/2000

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