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Storm Dents Drought

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As Sioux Falls chips its way out from under the layer of ice coating everything--West River residents are digging out from record setting snows.

The storm that crippled the state may have left behind some real inconveniences and even hardships.

But, SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray reports--it’s good news for the parts of the state suffering under severe and extreme drought.   

The heavy snows that fell on Western South Dakota carried over an inch of water equivalent to some areas.   Melissa Smith a hydrologist with the National Weather Service says with the right sort of melting that water will seep into the thirsty ground.  

“Right now our ground was not frozen when we got all this snow so a majority of the moisture in this snowfall that we have is going to make its way into the ground,” says Smith.  

Smith says the soil moisture before the snow was very low.  She says depending on the rate of melting this snow may also help improve levels on stock dams and reservoirs.   She says good news for drought stricken areas is that the pattern of wet spring time weather may stay around a bit longer – more rain and snow is in the forecast.     But Smith adds it will take a lot more precipitation to get completely out of the drought.

With all the snow removal underway as Rapid City digs out.   The Fire Department reminds residents to not cover fire hydrants as they move snow. Fire officials ask that the hydrants to remain clear and easy to see.

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