Drought Conditions Continue Across Western South Dakota and Northeastern Wyoming

Updated on Friday, December 22, 2007
Next Scheduled Update by Friday, Januaryry 23, 2007


During the first 20 days of December, less than one tenth of an inch of precipitation fell across the plains of western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, and in the southern and central Black Hills. In the northern black hills and bear lodge mountains up to one quarter inch of precipitation fell. On December 20 through 22 a powerful storm moved through the central plains. This storm dropped 0.50 to 1.00 inches of precipitation across Todd, Tripp and Southeastern portions of Bennett and Mellette counties in south central South Dakota. Elsewhere across northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota, conditions remained dry.

Local Area Affected

Drought conditions as of December 19. Extreme (D3) drought conditions continue across the northwestern corner of South Dakota, the southwestern corner of South Dakota, and in the Powder River basin of northeastern Wyoming. Severe (D2) drought conditions continue across the rest of western South Dakota and in northeastern Wyoming. The northern Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains have received above normal precipitation this year and are classified as abnormally dry (D0).  

Climate Summary

Temperatures in November were 1 to 2 degrees above normal across northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota. Precipitation during November averaged 60 t0 80 percent of normal, except in the Bear Lodge Mountains and northern Campbell County in northeastern Wyoming where precipitation averaged 140 to 180 percent of normal. During the first half of December, temperatures were 3 to 5 degrees above normal. Precipitation in the first half of December was 30 to 50 percent of normal, except across Todd, Tripp and southeastern portions of Bennett and Mellette counties where precipitation was 150 to 250 percent of normal.

River and Reservoir Conditions

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), streamflows were near normal for most of the area. The exception was in on the southern Black Hills, where streamflows were below normal.

Reservoirs around the region remain well below capacity. The table below shows reservoir percent of normal 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 38% +0.5 ft
Belle Fourche 30% +2.0 ft
Deerfield 76% -0.3 ft
Keyhole 29% -0.1 ft
Pactola 57% -0.4 ft
Shadehill 63% -0.6 ft

Temperature and Precipiation Outlook

Temperatures are expected to continue above normal through the middle of January. Precipitation is expected to be near or slightly below normal through the middle January.

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


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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