Drought Conditions Expand Across Western South Dakota and Northeastern Wyoming

Updated on Thursday, October 11, 2007


Drought conditions as of October 11, severe /D2/ drought conditions were located across Fall River County, western Shannon County, the plains of Pennington County, western Jackson and Haakon counties and southeastern Meade County. Elsewhere, moderate /D1/ drought conditions covered the rest of Shannon, Pennington, Meade, and Jackson counties, Custer County, much of Bennett, Haakon and Perkins counties and the eastern portion of Butte and Harding counties in South Dakota. Over northeastern Wyoming, moderate /D1/ drought conditions were located across Weston County and a small portion of southeastern Campbell County. Abnormally dry /D0/ conditions exist across the rest of western South Dakota except for Tripp County and the eastern portions of Todd and Mellette counties. In northeastern Wyoming abnormally dry /D0/ conditions cover much of Crook County and the southern half of Campbell County. 

Summary of Impacts

  • Drought conditions continue to improve across western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming. Cumulative effects from eight years of drought remain.
  • Stock ponds and dugouts continue to be very low which is limiting water for cattle and other animals. Water at such low levels typically is of poor quality and not usable.
  • According to the Rapid City Journal, County Extension offices in western South Dakota are now operating a Drought Relief Hay Exchange to connect those who have feed to sell with those who need to buy it. This effort was introduced because of a drought-induced poor growing season across the southwest part of the state.
  • According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 1,359 wildland fires have burned 81,277 acres in South Dakota so far since January 2007. During the same time, 474 wildland fires have burned 76,368 acres in Wyoming.
  • Wyoming residents have been asked by the Governor’s Task Force to reduce their water use.

Climate Summary

During the month of September, temperatures were 2 to 4 degrees above average. Precipitation during the month was mainly well below average with 55 to 65 percent of normal rainfall. The wettest areas were located in southwestern South Dakota where precipitation averaged slightly above normal.

Precipitation and Temperature Outlook

During the month of September La Nina conditions continued to strengthen across the tropical Pacific. Recent equatorial Pacific sea surface temperature trends and model forecasts indicate that La Nina conditions are expected to strengthen through early 2008. 

Hydrologic Summary and Outlook

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), below normal average streamflows have occurred along Rapid Creek upstream from Rapid City and along the Cheyenne River upstream from Angostura Reservoir during the last 28 days. During the same period, the Grand and Moreau Rivers were much above normal. Near normal 28 day streamflows averages were observed in the Belle Fourche, Little Missouri, Powder, Keya Paha, White and lower Cheyenne river basins.

Reservoirs around the region remain below average for this time of year. The table below shows reservoir percent of average 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 40% -0.1 ft
Belle Fourche 25% -3.0 ft
Deerfield 80% -0.4 ft
Keyhole 31% -0.3 ft
Pactola 51% -1.2 ft
Shadehill 58% -0.8 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.

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