Drought Conditions Continue Across Western South Dakota and Northeastern Wyoming

Updated on Thursday, March 22, 2007
Next Scheduled Update by Friday, April 20, 2007


Below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation occurred across the area during the first half of February. Precipitation averaged 0.50 to 0.70 inches on the plains of western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming. In the northern Black Hills and Bear Lodge mountains precipitation averaged 0.75 to 1.00 inches. This trend continued for areas in south central South Dakota through the end of the month. However, the pattern changed for northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota as more seasonal temperatures and near normal precipitation amounts finished the month.

For the first half of March...above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation occurred. Precipitation amounts on the plains of western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming averaged 0.10 to 0.25 inches. In the northern Black Hills and Bear Lodge mountains precipitation averaged 0.50 to 1.00 inches.

Local Area Affected

Drought conditions as of March 22, extreme (/D3) drought continued across the southwestern corner of South Dakota. The majority of western South Dakota was classified as being in severe (D2) drought conditions. Northeastern Wyoming and the northern Black Hills were classified as being in moderate (D1) drought.

Climate Summary

Temperatures in February were below to much below normal across northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota. On average temperatures were 3 to 6 degrees below normal. Precipitation during February was normal to above normal in most areas except in extreme southwestern South Dakota where precipitation amounts were less than 50 percent of normal.

Temperatures so far in March have been 4 to 7 degrees above normal. Precipitation so far has been below normal with many locations around 50 percent of normal for March.

River and Reservoir Conditions

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), streamflows were near normal to below normal across the area.

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 43% +1.0 ft
Belle Fourche 47% +3.0 ft
Deerfield 77% +0.8 ft
Keyhole 30% +0.8 ft
Pactola 59% +1.5 ft
Shadehill 61% +0.4 ft

Agricultural Impacts

According to the Angostura Irrigation District reservoir levels in Angostura Reservoir are currently too low to release water for irrigation needs. Significant moisture is needed this spring to raise lake levels in order to fulfill irrigation demands this summer.

Temperature and Precipiation Outlook

Neutral ENSO (El Nino–Southern Oscillation) conditions are expected for this spring.  The outlook through May calls for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.

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.

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