Drought Conditions Expand Across Western South Dakota and Northeastern Wyoming

Updated on Friday February 22, 2013


Drought conditions as of February 22. Exceptional /D4/ drought conditions are located across portions of South Dakota and Wyoming. This includes Weston County and southeastern Campbell County in northeastern Wyoming and southwestern Fall River, northeastern Shannon, eastern Pennington, southern Meade, Haakon, Jackson, Bennett, Mellette, Todd, and Tripp Counties in South Dakota. Extreme /D3/ drought conditions cover the southern portions of Campbell and Crook Counties in northeastern Wyoming; in South Dakota extreme /D3/ drought covers southeastern Harding, southern Perkins, southern Ziebach, eastern Butte, southern Meade, Lawrence, western Pennington, Custer, northeastern Fall River, and the rest of Shannon County. The rest of northwestern South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming was classified as severe /D2/ drought conditions.

Summary of Impacts

  • Most dugouts and stock ponds across northeastern Wyoming and South Dakota have dried up or are an unsuitable water source for cattle and other animals.
  • Pasture and rangeland conditions are reported as very poor.

Climate Summary

Precipitation so far this winter (since October 1, 2012) has been below average across the entire area.

Precipitation in January was above average in portions of northeastern Wyoming, the Black Hills, and southwestern South Dakota. Across northwestern South Dakota, precipitation was below average. However, average January precipitation is only between a quarter and a half inch on the plains, with amounts slightly over an inch for the higher elevations in the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains.

So far in February, precipitation has been below average except in south central South Dakota where precipitation is above average.

Precipitation and Temperature Outlook

The outlook for March indicates a greater chance of below average temperatures across northeastern Wyoming and northwestern South Dakota with equal chances of below average, above average, or average temperatures for the rest of the area. For precipitation, there are equal chances of average, above average and below average precipitation. For March, the average high temperature is in the middle 40s and the average low temperature is around 20 degrees. The average precipitation amount is around an inch on the plains with two and a half inches for the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains.

Hydrologic Summary and Outlook

The table below shows reservoir percent of average capacity on February 22 according to the Bureau of Reclamation (USBR).

Reservoir Percent of Normal Feet from Full
Angostura 65% 10.7 ft
Belle Fourche 61% 9.6 ft
Deerfield 98% 0.9 ft
Keyhole 79% 4.6 ft
Pactola 89% 7.3 ft
Shadehill 66% 9.4 ft

Questions or Comments

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

Melissa Smith
Drought Focal Point
National Weather Service
300 East Signal Drive
Rapid City South Dakota 57701
Telephone 605-341-9271
E-mail melissa.smith@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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