Drought Conditions Improved Slightly Across Western South Dakota and Northeastern Wyoming

Updated on Thursday, May 17, 2007
Updated as needed during the month of June


Drought conditions as of May 17, the majority of western South Dakota was classified as being in moderate (D1) drought conditions with the exception of the extreme southwestern corner which improved to severe (D2) drought and the northern Black Hills which was classified as abnormally dry (D0). Northeastern Wyoming also improved to abnormally dry (D0). No drought conditions were depicted over south central South Dakota.

Summary of Impacts

  • According to the Rapid City Journal, mandatory water conservation restrictions are in effect in Rapid City through September. Lawns may not be watered between 9 AM and 6 PM.
  • According to the Angostura Irrigation District, irrigators will only receive 15% of their water allocation this season due to low water levels in Angostura Reservoir.
  • According to the Belle Fourche Irrigation District, water allocations this season will be similar to last year tentatively set at 11 inches per acre.
  • The Wyoming Game and Fish Department increased the number of hunting licenses to be issued this year in an attempt to regain a balance between the number of animals on the land and the amount of forage available to sustain them after eight years of drought.
  • Stock ponds and dugouts continue to be very low which are limiting water for cattle and other animals.

Climate Summary

Temperatures and precipitation during April were slightly below average. For the most part, temperatures were 1 to 2 degrees below average while precipitation amounts ranged from 0.49 inches in Spearfish to 2.93 inches in Winner.

Precipitation and Temperature Outlook

Neutral ENSO (El Nino – Southern Oscillation) conditions continued into May. At this time weak La Nina conditions are expected to develop for the June through August time period. There is a great deal of uncertainty on how strong the La Nina will be. The strength of La Nina impacts the expected climate response. The Climate Prediction Center outlook through June calls for above average temperatures and below average precipitation.

Hydrologic Summary and Outlook

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), most stream flows across the area were between the 10th and 74th percentile.

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 47% +1.2 ft
Belle Fourche 63% +2.8 ft
Deerfield 81% +1.0 ft
Keyhole 36% +2.0 ft
Pactola 63% +2.0 ft
Shadehill 63% +0.1 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


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.