Recent Rainfall Improves Short Term Drought Conditions

Updated on Thursday May 23, 2013
The next planned update will be in June. However, it may be updated earlier as conditions change.


Drought conditions as of May 23. There are no exceptional /D4/ drought conditions in South Dakota or Wyoming due to the recent rainfall. However, extreme /D3/ drought conditions are located across portions of northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota. In northeastern Wyoming extreme drought conditions cover southern Campbell County. In western South Dakota, extreme drought conditions exist across southeastern Harding, northeastern Butte, the southern and central Perkins, and extreme northern Ziebach counties. Severe /D2/ drought conditions cover most of Campbell, Weston, and southeastern Crook counties in northeastern Wyoming. In western South Dakota severe drought conditions cover the rest of Perkins and Ziebach counties, a small area of southeastern Harding County, eastern Butte, Meade, Haakon, eastern Pennington, extreme eastern and western Custer, Fall River, western Shannon, and southern Tripp counties. Moderate /D1/ drought conditions exist over the Black Hills, across western and northern Haakon County, Jackson, eastern Shannon, Bennett, Todd, Mellette, and northern Tripp counties.

U.S. Drought Monitor

U.S. Drought Monitor High Plains U.S. Drought Monitor

Summary of Impacts

  • Soil moisture and stock pond levels have improved with the recent moisture. 

Climate Summary

May began very dry; however, an upper level storm system brought significant rainfall to much of the area. Locations in the northern Black Hills reported 4 to 8 inches of rain over a five day period. Since rainfall amounts were terrain driven, areas in southwestern South Dakota and locations southwest of the Black Hills received very little moisture.Click here for a listing of rainfall reports. 

Precipitation and Temperature Outlook

An active weather pattern is expected through the end of May into the beginning of June. During this time, almost daily chances for thunderstorms are forecast. Temperatures will be close to average. Average May temperatures are in the lower to middle 50s with precipitation amounts of three to four inches.

Climate Prediction Center Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks

Temperature Outlook Precipitation Outlook

Climate Prediction Center U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook

Hydrologic Summary and Outlook

The table below shows reservoir percent of average capacity and feet from full on May 23 according to the Bureau of Reclamation (USBR).


Percent of Normal

Feet from Full

Angostura 72% 8.4 ft
Belle Fourche 80% 4.5 ft
Deerfield 99% 0.3 ft
Keyhole 80% 1.8 ft
Pactola 97% 8.6 ft
Shadehill 68% 4.3 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


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