2015 Breaks Both Dry And Wet Weather Records

Jun 25, 2015

So far 2015, can be described as a year of both droughts and floods.

On Wednesday June 24th Rapid Creek again swelled out of it's banks closing some city parks and flooding some downstream roads.
Credit Chynna Lockett

The year started in a drought.   The months of January through April were the driest on record in many parts of the state.    

But in May the weather took a turn with more rain, lots more rain.   

Melissa Smith is a Hydrologist with the National Weather Service.
She says in an average year, the Rapid City Regional Airport gets about 16 inches of precipitation.    

She says the rainfall over the last two months alone is approaching that number.

“At the Rapid City Airport we actually have the wettest May, June period on record. We’ve had 13 and three quarters of an inch so far.   And that breaks our old record which was almost 11 inches in 1962.  So, we’re looking at 2 to 3 inches above that previous record,” says Smith.  

Smith says more rain could fall before the end of the month.

The fire danger in the Black Hills was listed as high in February. A number of Western South Dakota wildfires in the first months of the year kept crews busy.
Credit Charles Michael Ray

Officials with the Bureau of Reclamation who monitor reservoir levels in parts of the state say they are putting in overtime hours.  Reservoirs like Pactola above Rapid City require 24 hour monitoring.    

Pactola is at a new record full level of almost over 8 feet into the flood pool.  Officials warn those who live downstream could see higher creek levels if more rains force an increase in the discharge out of the dams.