Drought Conditions Continue Across Western South Dakota

Updated on Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Synopsis 

As of April 22, severe (D2) drought conditions are located across most of Harding, Perkins and Butte counties, the northern and western portion of Meade County as well as southern Fall River County and southwestern Shannon County. Elsewhere in South Dakota, moderate (D1) drought conditions covered the rest of Shannon, Fall River and Meade counties, as well as, Pennington, Custer, and Ziebach counties, and the western halves of Haakon and Jackson counties. Abnormally dry (D0) conditions exist across western Bennett County and the eastern portions of Jackson, Haakon and Lawrence counties.

In northeast Wyoming, moderate (D1) drought conditions exist over Weston County. Abnormally dry (D0) conditions cover Crook County and most of Campbell County.

Summary of Impacts 

  • Drought conditions continue across western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming. Cumulative effects from eight years of drought remain which can be seen in the reservoir levels listed near the end of this statement.
  • Stock ponds and dugouts continue to be very low which is limiting water for cattle and other animals. Water at such low levels typically is of poor quality and not usable.
  • According to the Rapid City Journal, the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources has issued shut-off orders for junior water rights holders upstream of Angostura and Belle Fourche Reservoirs.
  • According to the Rapid City Journal, County Extension offices in western South Dakota are operating a Drought Relief Hay Exchange to connect those who have feed to sell with those who need to buy it. This effort was introduced because of a drought-induced poor growing season across the southwest part of the state in 2007.

Climate Summary

During the month of March, precipitation amounts were 30 to 50 percent below average. Temperatures were generally near average and varied from two degrees above average in Spearfish to two degree below average at Pactola Dam. So far in April, temperatures and precipitation have been slightly below average.

Snow pack and snow water equivalent in the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains has been near average this winter. Most of the snow below 5500 ft has already melted into the ground or evaporated. Liquid water content above 5500 ft is still near average.

Precipitation and Temperature Outlook

Ongoing moderate La Nina conditions are expected to continue through early summer. The Climate Prediction Center outlook through May calls for near average temperatures and near average precipitation. However, moderate La Nina conditions that persist into early summer are consistent with hot and dry weather across western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming from mid May through August. Therefore, current drought conditions are likely to persist and may begin to intensify by early June. Precipitation amounts from April through June largely determine drought severity for northeast Wyoming and western South Dakota.  

Hydrologic Summary and Outlook

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the 28-day average streamflow compared to historical streamflow is below normal to normal.

Reservoirs around the region remain below average for this time of year. The table below shows reservoir percent of average capacity and change in elevation over the past 30 days as calculated by the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR).

Reservoir Percent of Normal Elevation Change
Angostura 48% +0.7 ft
Belle Fourche 61% +1.8 ft
Deerfield 76% +0.4 ft
Keyhole 34% +0.2 ft
Pactola 52% +1.1 ft
Shadehill 52% +0.2 ft

Questions or Comments

If you have any questions or comments about this drought information please contact,

Melissa Smith or Lee Czepyha
Drought Focal Points
National Weather Service
300 East Signal Drive
Rapid City South Dakota 57701
Telephone 605-341-9271
E-mail melissa.smith@noaa.gov or lee.czepyha@noaa.gov

Acknowledgements

The drought monitor is a multi-agency effort involving NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) and National Climatic Data Center, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), state and regional center climatologists, and the National Drought Mitigation Center. Information for this statement has been gathered from NWS and Federal Aviation Administration observation sites, state cooperative extension services, USDA, USBR, and USGS.


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