Storms Dent Drought

May 13, 2015

Heavy snowfall leaves mud, and flowing water on Tuesday afternoon in the South Unit of the Badlands near Sheep Table. This is a stark contrast to the drought conditions present here earlier.
Credit Chynna Lockett / SDPB

State Climatologist Dennis Todey says while the recent weather system brought blizzards to the west side of the state and a tornado to the east, it also brought some drought relief. The first months of 2015 were the driest on state record, leading to widespread drought conditions. 

Todey says though spring rains and snows came later than expected, the precipitation is beneficial for soil moisture and streams.

“The first thing you have to remember is that any precipitation right now is a boost because of how dry we have been and this is by far our largest event since well back into last year sometime, I’d have to go back and look. So it will help things a lot. Certainly newly planted crops, corn and soybeans that where put into the ground that was quite dry, this will be a huge boost for them because it will get things going,” says Todey.

Todey says even though the storm system helped newly planted crops, it happened too late in the season for the moisture to benefit winter crops. He says more rain is in the forecast in coming weeks across the state.