2009 Annual Climatic and Hydrologic Summary for Western South Dakota and Northeastern Wyoming
 
Temperature and Precipitation Summary

Temperatures averaged 1.2 degrees below normal for the region. Spearfish was the warm spot, averaging 1.2 degrees below normal. The cold spot was in Winner where temperatures averaged 3.3 degrees below normal. Precipitation averaged 112 percent of normal across the region, with record snowfall being reported at several locations for the 2008-2009 snow season. The average surplus for the year was 2.18 inches. Across western South Dakota the highest precipitation total was at Deadwood 2NE where 35.34 inches of precipitation fell. Ludlow 3SSE was the dry spot with only 12.10 inches. In northeastern Wyoming, Hulett was the wet spot with 21.58 inches, while Upton was the dry spot with 13.27 inches.

All-time annual record snowfall was recorded in Camp Crook with 135.0 inches of snow, Spearfish with 124.0 inches, Redig 11NE with 119.0 inches, Ft. Meade with 97.4 inches, Lemmon with 90.5 inches, National Weather Service in Rapid City with 90.2 inches, and Bison with 87.9 inches. (A detailed table on all records set in 2009 can be found below). 

Click here for preliminary monthly precipitation totals for 2009.

Significant storms of 2009

Snowstorms of 2009
The first significant snowfall of 2009 occurred on January 14 -15 when 6 to 12 inches of snow fell over the northern Black Hills, and 3 to 6 inches in the northern foothills. Nearly two weeks later on January 23 - 26, a slow moving storm system in the central plains produced 6 to 12 inches of snow across southwestern South Dakota and in the southern Black Hills, and 3 to 6 inches of snow across south central South Dakota, southern Campbell County and in Weston County in northeast Wyoming.
 
Low pressure moved across eastern South Dakota on February 9 - 10 bringing 3 to 6 inches of snow to northwest South Dakota and the northern Black Hills. A few days later on February 12 - 13 a weak upper level storm system brought 2 to 5 inches of snow to southwest South Dakota, the southern Black Hills and southern Campbell and Weston counties in northeast Wyoming. Another upper level disturbance on February 20 brought 3 to 6 inches of snow to the northern Black Hills. Late in February, a strong upper level disturbance brought 8 to 15 inches of snow to Harding and Perkins counties in northwest South Dakota and 5 to 10 inches of snow across the northern portions of Crook County in northeast Wyoming. Another quick moving storm on February 27 brought 3 to 6 inches of snow to northwest South Dakota and northern portions of Campbell and Crook counties in northeast Wyoming.
 
The month of March saw three powerful snowstorms strike the region. On March 9 - 10 a strong storm brought 8 to 14 inches of snow to the northern Black Hills and northeast Wyoming, and 5 to 10 inches in the northern foothills. Across the plains of central and northwest South Dakota 3 to 6 inches of snow fell. On March 23 - 24, a powerful blizzard struck western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming. Snowfall averaged 30 to 40 inches over the northern Black Hills with 15 to 25 inches in the northern foothills. Southwest and south central South Dakota saw 5 to 10 inches of snow with 10 to 20 inches elsewhere on the plains of western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming. Winds of 40 to 50 mph with gust to 60 mph were common. The strongest wind gust occurred 7 miles southeast of Bison in Perkins County where winds gusted to 90 mph. A wind gust of 80 mph was reported at the Weather Service Office in Rapid City. On March 29 - 31, another powerful blizzard struck western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming. Snowfall averaged 25 to 35 inches over the northern Black Hills, and 15 to 25 inches across the northern foothills. Southwest and south central South Dakota saw 4 to 8 inches of snow with 6 to 16 inches elsewhere on the plains of western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming. Winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 45 mph were reported across the region.
 
On April 3 - 4, the third blizzard in two weeks struck western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming with 8 to 15 inches of snow falling over most of the area. Snowfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches were reported across southwest South Dakota, the southern Black Hills and across Weston County and southern Campbell County in northeast Wyoming. Winds of 25 to 35 mph were reported with gusts to near 45 mph. On April 25, a storm system moving through the Central Plains brought 4 to 8 inches of snow to far western South Dakota and the Bear Lodge Mountains, and 2 to 4 inches of snow to the plains of northeast Wyoming.
 
On October 1, a strong upper level storm system brought strong winds to the plains of western South Dakota and 2 to 4 inches of snow to the northern Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains. Winds of 35 to 45 mph with gusts to 60 mph were common on the plains. The strongest winds reported were 70 mph at Ellsworth AFB and 66 mph in downtown Rapid City. On October 4 – 5, another strong upper level storm system brought snow to the northern and central Black Hills, northeast Wyoming and far northwest South Dakota. In the northern and central Black Hills 4 to 8 inches of snow fell. In northwest South Dakota 2 to 5 inches of snow fell, while in northeast Wyoming 2 to 5 inches of snow fell in Crook County and in northern Campbell County. On October 7 – 8, another strong upper level storm system brought more snow to northeast Wyoming, the Black Hills and extreme southwest South Dakota. In the northern and central Black Hills 4 to 8 inches of snow fell. In southwest South Dakota 1 to 2 inches of snow fell, and 1 to 3 inches was reported across Crook County and northern Campbell County in northeast Wyoming. On October 11, a weak upper level storm system brought 2 to 5 inches of snow to northern Campbell County and northern Crook County in northeast Wyoming. On October 25, a weak upper level storm system brought 3 to 6 inches of snow to the northern Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains. On October 28 – 29, a strong upper level low pressure system brought snow to southwest South Dakota and heavy snow to the northern and central Black Hills, and northern foothills. In the northern and central Black Hills 8 to 15 inches of snow fell with locally heavier amounts around Lead and Deadwood. Lead reported 23.4 inches of snow and Deadwood reported 18.6. In the northern foothills 5 to 9 inches of snow fell. Across southwest South Dakota 4 to 6 inches of snow fell.
 
On December 2 – 3, an upper level disturbance brought 4 to 8 inches of snow to the northern Black Hills. On December 13, an upper level disturbance brought 2 to 4 inches of snow to the plains of southern and central South Dakota. On December 23, an upper level disturbance moved across the region bringing 3 to 6 inches of snow to the northern Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains. On the plains of western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming 1 to 3 inches of snow fell. On December 25 – 26, a deep upper low moved through Iowa and Minnesota bringing a record setting Christmas blizzard to the region. In the northern Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains 24 to 40 inches of snow fell. In the northern foothills 12 to 24 inches fell. Across the plains of western South Dakota 7 to 14 inches fell with some locally higher amounts near 20 inches. Over the southern and central Black Hills and across the plains of northeast Wyoming 3 to 6 inches fell. The highest snowfall totals were in Lead with 40.0 inches and Deadwood 2NE with 37.2 inches. The South Dakota plains also saw winds of 30-45 mph with gusts commonly over 60 mph. The highest wind gusts reported were 76 mph at the National Weather Service Office in Rapid City and 71 mph at the Rapid City Regional Airport.
 
2009 Severe Weather Summary
The 2009 severe weather season was an active one. The National Weather Service in Rapid City issued 262 severe thunderstorm warnings and 29 tornado warnings from May through September. During the severe weather season, there were 11 tornadoes, hail as large as softballs and winds in excess of 80 miles per hour reported across the region.
 
Windstorms of 2009
Strong winds struck western South Dakota several times at the beginning of the year. On January 9, strong northwest winds developed behind a cold front and produced winds of 50 to 60 mph across northwest and west central South Dakota. The highest wind gust reported was 65 mph northeast of Whitewood in Lawrence County.
 
On January 12, a tight pressure gradient produced strong winds across the western South Dakota plains. Wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph were common. The highest winds gusts were 82 mph in Newell and 77 mph in downtown Rapid City.
 
Strong downslope winds develop over the northern and eastern foothills on January 13. Winds gusted to 70 mph just southeast of Folsom in Custer County, 68 mph at Ellsworth AFB and to 67 mph in downtown Rapid City.
 
Strong winds hit the area again on January 17 - 18 as a strong pressure gradient behind a cold front produced strong northwest winds across northwest and west central South Dakota. Wind gusts of 55 to 65 mph were common. The highest wind gusts were 72 mph in downtown Rapid City, 63 mph in Buffalo and 61 mph at Ellsworth AFB.
 
On the last day of January, strong northwest winds behind a cold front brought wind gusts of 50 to 60 mph across northwest South Dakota.
 
2009 Flooding Summary
Flooding began early in the year. In February, ice breakup on the White River combined with an inch of rain on frozen ground, resulted in flooding along the White River from Highway 83 downstream to the Missouri River. One home was flooded as well as agricultural land along the river.
 
In March, ice breakup combined with abundant runoff caused minor flooding along the Belle Fourche River, the Little Missouri River, the Moreau River, the Grand River, and other smaller creeks and streams in Harding, Perkins, Butte, Meade and Ziebach counties. Reports included water over several roads and bridges, water flowing over several small dam spillways, and downed power poles caused by ice chunks in the water.
 
Shadehill Reservoir peaked at 2286.98 feet, which was the highest elevation at the reservoir since construction of the dam on April 10, 1952. This elevation was about 15 feet into the flood pool. The spillway discharge peaked at 4500 cfs and water continued to spill through the spillway at the end of the month.
 
In April, snowmelt combined with warm temperatures and rain caused flooding across portions of northwestern South Dakota. Record flooding occurred on the Little Missouri River at Camp Crook on April 16-17 when the gage rose to almost six feet above flood stage. At least two families along the river evacuated and a few buildings were flooded. Flooding also occurred along the Belle Fourche River, Moreau River, Grand River, Cheyenne River, White River, Rabbit Creek, Deep Creek, Elk Creek, Cherry Creek, and other smaller creeks and streams in Harding, Perkins, Butte, Meade and Ziebach counties. Hotchkiss Dam, an irrigation dam in eastern Harding County, slowly breached on April 14th. Water behind the dam was stored in Sorum Lake preventing further damage downstream. A bridge approach in Perkins County on Cedar Canyon Road was washed out as well as several other roads and culverts in northwestern South Dakota.
 
Shadehill Reservoir peaked even higher in April, at just under 2291 feet. This elevation is about 19 feet into the flood pool. The spillway discharge peaked at 4500 cfs and water continued to be in the flood pool at the end of the month.
 
During the afternoon and evening hours of May 24, heavy rain of two to three inches caused flash flooding along Rapid Creek from the fairgrounds east to Rapid Valley. A swift water rescue was needed to rescue three stranded teenagers from an island in the creek. No injuries were reported. On the same evening, nuisance flooding was reported over Meade, Pennington, Lawrence and Custer counties due to the heavy rain. A few streets were flooded and gravel was washed off of several roads.
 
On June 13, slow moving thunderstorms caused flash flooding over southwestern South Dakota. Three-hour radar rainfall estimates were between two and four inches. Several roads and low water crossings in Hot Springs were underwater. Six inches of water was reported flowing down Minnekahta Avenue in Hot Springs. The alert gage into Cold Brook Reservoir was activated when water filled the normally dry culvert upstream from the reservoir. Campers along the river were evacuated due to the rising water.
 
More flash flooding was reported on June 14 as strong thunderstorms produced very heavy rain and hail up to baseball size. Flash flooding washed out sections of gravel roads in Meade County north of Box Elder with rainfall amounts of two to three inches. In New Underwood, most streets were covered with water for an hour due to the heavy rain. In Custer County, Red Creek covered Dewey Road with water, washed some of the gravel off of the road and damaged the culvert.
 
During the week of the 4th of July holiday, southern Fall River County, SD received two to five inches of rain. This rainfall quickly caused levels to rise on Hat Creek and Indian Creek near Ardmore. Several county roads were covered with water from the runoff caused by the heavy rain. High water began on July 2 and continued through July 9 due to additional storms.
 
On the evening of July 13, minor small stream flooding occurred over portions of western and south central South Dakota as a strong upper level low pressure system moved across Montana and North Dakota. Widespread severe weather and areas of heavy rain caused minor flooding along the north and south branches of Pine Creek, the Little White River and Cut Meat Creek. Flows along Elk Creek near Elm Springs went from 53 cfs to 1610 cfs in two hours. On the Belle Fourche River near Elm Springs, a crest close to 8000 cfs was observed. In Hot Springs, the Fall River went from 30 cfs to 600 cfs in 30 minutes. The White River near the town of White River jumped over five feet from 160 cfs to 4378 cfs in less than six hours. However, all locations remained slightly under flood stage.
 
On August 6 and again on August 12, heavy rain fell over portions of south central South Dakota. Rainfall amounts of two to three inches of rain caused flooding of low lying areas in Tripp, northern Mellette, and northern Jackson counties. Culverts blocked by debris caused water to flow over county roads, and pond on roads and in low lying areas. No damage was reported from the flooding.
 
Drier conditions prevailed in September. October was very cold and snowy. Creeks and rivers continued to flow, but no flooding problems were reported. Warm temperatures with very little precipitation in November kept streams from freezing. December finally brought very cold temperatures which froze most of the open water around the area.
 
Temperature Extremes

Station
            High
Date(s)
            Low
Date
Buffalo *
96
Several Days
-22
December 15
Cottonwood
102
August 13
-17
January 27, 28
Deadwood
95
May 19
-22
December 9
Faith
94
August 12
-18
December 15
Gillette
96
Several Days
-20
December 9
Interior
100
August 2
-12
January 27
Pine Ridge *
99
August 13
-26
January 27
Phillip *
100
August 2
-13
March 1
Rapid City Airport*
97
August 13
-15
January 27
Winner
97
August 3
-22
January 16, 17

 
Precipitation Extremes

Station
          Rainfall
Date
          Snowfall
Date
Buffalo *
0.87
July 3
Not available
Cottonwood
1.03
March 24
7.0
December 26
Deadwood
1.99
March 30
20.8
March 30
Faith
1.43
July 3
10.2
March 24
Gillette
0.91
March 23
12.0
March 23
Interior
1.54
October 5
8.0
April 4
Pine Ridge *
0.78
August 7
Not available
Phillip *
1.34
July 3
Not available
Rapid City
2.17
May 24
13.9
April 4
Winner
2.39
August 6
12.5
April 5

* Data is from the automated weather station
 

Records Set in 2009 

  

ALL TIME DAILY/MONTHLY RECORDS SET IN 2009

LOCATION

DATE

NEW RECORD

OLD RECORD

DATE

Camp Crook

March

51.0 inches snowfall

35.5 inches snowfall

January 1949

Devils Tower

03/26/2009

20.0 inches snowfall

18.0 inches snowfall

04/30/1967

Devils Tower

March

32.8 inches snowfall

28.0 inches snowfall

December 1969

Maurine 12SW

March

35.0 inches snowfall

28.4 inches snowfall

November 1985

Redig 11NE

December

40.0 inches snowfall

36.0 inches snowfall 

March 2009

ANNUAL PRECIPTATION RECORDS SET IN 2009

LOCATION

YEAR

NEW RECORD

OLD RECORD

YEAR

Bison

2008-09

87.9 inches snowfall

63.8 inches snowfall

1996-97

Camp Crook

2008-09

135.0 inches snowfall

75.8 inches snowfall

1926-27

Ft. Meade

2008-09

97.4 inches snowfall

92.6 inches snowfall

1983-84

Lemmon

2008-09

90.5 inches snowfall

88.6 inches snowfall

1996-97

Redig 11NE

2008-09

119.0 inches snowfall

109.0 inches snowfall

1985-86

Spearfish

2008-09

124.0 inches snowfall

118.0 inches snowfall

1972-73

NWS Rapid City

2008-09

90.2 inches snowfall

80.3 inches snowfall

1969-70

MONTHLY RECORDS SET IN 2009

LOCATION

DATE

NEW RECORD

OLD RECORD

DATE

Bison

February

22.1 inches snowfall

17.0 inches snowfall

1952

Long Valley

February

2.01 inches precipitation

1.88 inches precipitation

1987

Camp Crook

March

51.0 inches snowfall

27.8 inches snowfall

1898

Devils Tower, WY

March

3.17 inches precipitation

2.39 inches precipitation

2007

Devils Tower, WY

March

32.8 inches snowfall

19.5 inches snowfall

1987

Maurine 12Sw

March

35.0 inches snowfall

27.0 inches snowfall

1998

Spearfish

March

52.0 inches snowfall

50.2 inches snowfall

1977

Redig 11NE

March

36.0 inches snowfall

33.5 inches snowfall

1950

Colony, WY

August

64.6 degree average temperature

65.5 degree average temperature

1927

Bison

October

38.6 degree average temperature

39.1 degree average temperature

2002

Cottonwood 2E

October

40.1 degree average temperature

40.6 degree average temperature

2002

Devils Tower, WY

October

36.4 degree average temperature

38.5 degree average temperature

1969

Ft. Meade

October

39.9 degree average temperature

39.9 degree average temperature

2002

Long Valley

October

40.6 degree average temperature

41.6 degree average temperature

2002

Maurine 12Sw

October

38.9 degree average temperature

39.2 degree average temperature

2002

Milesville 5NE

October

40.7 degree average temperature

43.2 degree average temperature 

1969

Mission 14S

October

38.4 degree average temperature

40.7 degree average temperature

2002

Mt. Rushmore

October

35.2 degree average temperature

37.3 degree average temperature

2002

Mt. Rushmore

October

19.4 inches of snow

19.0 inches of snow

1996

Oelrichs

October

39.7 degree average temperature

41.9 degree average temperature

2002

Pactola Dam

October

34.2 degree average temperature

36.2 degree average temperature

2002, 1969

Rapid City Airport

October

38.7 degree average temperature

39.0 degree average temperature

2002

Winner

October

42.6 degree average temperature

44.6 degree average temperature

2002

Wood

October

39.7 degree average temperature

41.6 degree average temperature

2002

Bison

November

0.00 inches precipitation

Trace of precipitation

Last 2004

Colony, WY

November

0.00 inches precipitation

0.00 inches precipitation

1917

Dupree

November

0.00 inches precipitation

0.00 inches precipitation

Last 1949

Faith

November

0.00 inches precipitation

0.00 inches precipitation

1952

Lemmon

November

Trace of precipitation

Trace of precipitation

Last 2006

Maurine 12Sw

November

Trace of precipitation

Trace of precipitation

Last 1997

Spearfish

November

0.11 inches precipitation

0.12 inches precipitation

1963

Spearfish

November

47.3 degree average temperature

46.6 degree average temperature

1999

Redig 11NE

November

Trace of precipitation

Trace of precipitation

Last 2004

Devils Tower

December

2.34 inches precipitation

1.81 inches precipitation

1989

Devils Tower

December

31.1 inches snowfall

28.0 inches snowfall

1969

Ft. Meade

December

17.0 inches snowfall

16.0 inches snowfall

1983

Interior 3NE

December

18.9 inches snowfall

13.7 inches snowfall

1996

Lemmon

December

35.5 inches snowfall

23.5 inches snowfall

1996

Maurine 12SW

December

21.5 inches snowfall

21.0 inches snowfall

1985

Oelrichs

December

1.25 inches precipitation

1.17 inches precipitation

1994

Spearfish

December

34.5 inches snowfall

25.7 inches snowfall

1949

NWS Rapid City

December

14.5 inches snowfall

12.4 inches snowfall

1996

Wood

December

18.5 inches snowfall

18.5 inches snowfall

1951

Redig 11NE

December

40.0 inches snowfall

27.0 inches snowfall

1996

Redig 11NE

December

1.48 inches precipitation

1.05 inches precipitation

1996

SINGLE DAY RECORDS FOR MONTH SET IN 2009

LOCATION

DATE

NEW RECORD

OLD RECORD

DATE

Long Valley

02/09/2009

1.32 inches precipitation

0.90 inches precipitation

02/18/1991

Lemmon

02/10/2009

0.70 inches precipitation

0.68 inches precipitation

02/21/1975

Bison

02/26/2009

10.0 inches snowfall

7.0 inches snowfall

02/26/1998

Colony, Wy.

02/26/2009

9.5 inches snowfall

8.0 inches snowfall

02/17/1991

Bison

03/24/2009

10.0 inches snowfall

9.5 inches snowfall

03/29/1977

Maurine 12SW

03/24/2009

2.35 inches precipitation

2.02 inches precipitation

03/31/2000

Redig 11NE

03/24/2009

12.0 inches snowfall

12.0 inches snowfall

03/11/88, 03/29/71

Newell

03/25/2009

13.0 inches snowfall

12.0 inches snowfall

03/29/1977

Devils Tower

03/26/2009

2.26 inches precipitation

1.12 inches precipitation

03/14/1973

Devils Tower

03/26/2009

20.0 inches snowfall

13.0 inches precipitation

03/21/1987

Camp Crook

03/30/2009

16.0 inches snowfall

16.0 inches snowfall

03/21/1946

Long Valley

04/04/2009

12.0 inches snowfall

12.0 inches snowfall

04/11/1995

Maurine 12SW

04/04/2009

10.0 inches snowfall

8.0 inches snowfall

04/01/1999

Maurine 12SW

07/04/2009

2.58 inches precipitation

2.08 inches precipitation

07/21/1983

Lemmon

07/13/2009

3.92 inches precipitation

3.52 inches precipitation

07/17/1969

Cottonwood 2E

12/26/2009

7.0 inches snowfall

7.0 inches snowfall

12/22/1981

Devils Tower

12/26/2009

9.8 inches snowfall

7.5 inches snowfall

12/24/1985

Dupree

12/25/2009

10.0 inches snowfall

9.0 inches snowfall

12/26/1988

Interior 3NE

12/26/2009

7.2 inches snowfall

4.0 inches snowfall

12/10/2000

Lead

12/25/2009

1.11 inches precipitation

1.05 inches precipitation

12/07/1963

Lead

12/25/2009

26.0 inches snowfall

17.8 inches precipitation

12/03/1993

Lemmon

12/26/2009

16.0 inches snowfall

11.6 inches snowfall

12/17/1967

Maurine 12SW

12/26/2009

11.0 inches snowfall

9.2 inches snowfall

12/01/1984

Milesville 5NE

12/26/2009

14.0 inches snowfall

10.0 inches snowfall

12/07/1971

Oelrichs

12/26/2009

10.0 inches snowfall

10.0 inches snowfall

12/17/1993

Spearfish

12/25/2009

18.0 inches snowfall

14.5 inches snowfall

12/11/1949

Redig 11NE

12/25/2009

18.0 inches snowfall

9.0 inches snowfall

12/17/1993

Redig 11NE

12/25/2009

0.82 inches precipitation

0.56 inches snowfall

12/23/1972

 

 Return to Climate Summaries


USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.