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Drought Conditions Expand, Increasing Fire Concerns In Western South Dakota

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National Integrated Drought Information System
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Current Conditions and Outlooks / Drought Monitor

 

 South  Dakota weather officials say drought conditions are getting worse. 

The U.S. Drought Monitor reports the entire state is now abnormally dry.

Areas of northwest South Dakota are in extreme drought. That includes all of Corson County and the surrounding area. 

State climatologist Laura Edwards says current conditions are partially due to an extremely dry spring. 

“We have areas such as Lemmon, South Dakota that have reported zero measurable rainfall in March. This is a critical time for our landscape for lawns and gardens for farming and we're losing a lot of that moisture here across the landscape.” 

Edwards says low soil moisture increases fire concerns. In the past few weeks, several wildfires have burned thousands of acres in western South Dakota. 

Edwards says long term trends point to more precipitation and warmer temperatures. But dryer conditions in the state will persist through the summer. 

“The outlooks right now are not very optimistic as far as drought recovery goes. It's typical to see ups and downs in the drought situation as we get through the growing season. Week by week, things can really change quickly.” 

The National Weather Service predicts the chance of rain is higher for the first few weeks of April.