Drought Conditions Improve with Recent Rainfall

Updated on Thursday October 17, 2013


Drought conditions as of October 17. With the abundant moisture received from the October Blizzard and the recent heavy rain, little if any drought conditions remain across northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota. An area of abnormally dry conditions remain across southern portions of Campbell and Weston counties in northeastern Wyoming as well as Bennett, Todd, and southern portions of Fall River and Shannon counties in western South Dakota. These abnormally dry conditions remain due to long term moisture deficits.

U.S. Drought Monitor

 High Plains U.S. Drought Monitor

Summary of Impacts

  • None reported.

Climate Summary

Rain began falling across northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota on October 3. Over an inch of rain was reported before colder air moved into the region, changing the rain to snow. On October 4 and 5, 12 to 24 inches of snow piled up on the plains with three to five feet of snow in the Black Hills. This heavy snow combined with winds of 35 to 45 mph and gusts of 70 mph to create whiteout conditions. When the blizzard ended, over four inches of liquid precipitation was received across the northern and central Black Hills and foothills. As this heavy snow melted, two additional storm systems brought two to four inches of rain to the area. This additional rainfall combined with the melting snow, caused flooding. This greatly reduced the drought impacts across the area.

Click here for a listing of monthly rainfall reports

Precipitation and Temperature Outlook

Through the end of October, there is a greater chance for below average temperatures with around average precipitation. Average high temperatures are typically in the upper 50s with low temperatures in the lower 30s. In the Black Hills, temperatures are slightly cooler. Precipitation in October typically ranges from 1.25 to 2.25 inches.  

Climate Prediction Center Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks

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 September 30 according to the Bureau of Reclamation (USBR).


Percent of Normal

Feet from Full

Angostura 69% -9.2 ft
Belle Fourche 68% -7.5 ft
Deerfield 99% -0.4 ft
Keyhole 83% -3.7 ft
Pactola 95% -3.5 ft
Shadehill 100% +1.3 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
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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