Paul Shackow

In The Moment ... October 24, 2019 Show 686 Hour 2

One thing that has become very clear during SDPB's month-long coverage of the future of farming is that a lot of what makes a farm successful is out of the producer's control. Some of their success depends on weather, climate and other outside forces.

Climate Scientist William Capehart attempts to give a better understanding of what we're seeing in our region. Capehart is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Lori Walsh / SDPB Radio

Todd Heitkamp is Meteorologist in Charge with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls. He talked with SDPB's Lori Walsh as he gathered data regarding the Sioux Falls tornado.

Gaylene Stocco and Dan Darkow own Dreamers Outlet in the strip mall at 41st Street and Kiwanis in Sioux Falls. They talk about how the tornado destroyed their business.

SDPB's Josh Haiar reports on the City of Sioux Falls tornado press briefing.

Tornado Touches Down in Martin

Jul 1, 2019

An EF-1 tornado touched down outside of Martin in south western South Dakota on Saturday.  The tornado stayed on the ground for about 40 minutes and had measured wind speeds between 85 and 110 mph.

Susan Sanders is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Rapid City. She says this was an unusual storm.

“The storm developed very, very quickly and was pretty much the only storm around, and it wasn’t moving. So, the tornado actually – when it touched down – moved slightly to the northwest,” says Sanders.


In The Moment ... June 11, 2019 Show 593 Hour 1

This years bad weather has the bulk of South Dakota Farmer's facing the imapcts. Kevin McNew is Chief Economist at the Farmer's Business Network. He joins now for a look at the historic season and how if stands to influence yields.

In The Moment ... July 2, 2018 Show 370 Hour 1

Some years the corn is knee high by now. Other years it feels like you're up to your knees in water. Farmers and producers in Southeast South Dakota are dealing with wet conditions and flooded fields.

SDPB's Brad VanOsdel has been talking with people impacted by the wild weather.

Chris Laughery

In The Moment ... January 4, 2018 Show 249 Hour 1

Climatologist Elwynn Taylor visits Vermillion this week for a presentation at the Dakota Farm Show. He joins us for a conversation about what's ahead for the 2018 growing season. We also talk about managing risk through effective data analysis, how a changing climate impacts corn production in the state, and what needs to be done to prepare for another Dustbowl in America.

Uncertain Bounty - 2017 Drought By The Numbers

Oct 19, 2017
University of Nebraska Drought Mitigation Center

South Dakota residents are no stranger to drought.  The state’s position in the U-S and many unique landforms impact our weather—and in some years, keep the moisture away.  This year has brought extremely dry weather over most of South Dakota—with agriculture, tourism and nearly every other segment of life affected.  


In The Moment ... June 7, 2017 Show 109 Hour 2

We begin hour two of the program with the Dakota Political Junkies. Joining us today is Dana Ferguson with the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. Also with us is Roger Whittle, editor of the Watertown Public Opinion. We discuss the accessibility of South Dakota’s Congressional delegation, Democrat Billie Sutton’s entry into the 2018 gubernatorial race, and more.

SDSU Extension

State weather officials say December’s fluctuating temperature pattern of extreme lows followed by above average conditions will continue into the New Year.

Christmas Day Storm Leaves Thousands Without Power

Dec 27, 2016
Jared Fosheim / South Dakota Department of Transportation

South Dakotans faced man sized snow drifts, icy roads, freezing temperatures and even some thunder and lightning on Christmas Day.
Governor Dennis Daugaard declared a state of emergency after a winter storm left motorists stranded and downed power lines.
Brenda Kleinjan with South Dakota Rural Electric Association says around 20,000 people were left without power. As of last night, Kleinjan says power has been restored to about 14,000.  

First Winter Storm Of The Season Hits I-29 Corridor Hardest

Nov 18, 2016

The first winter storm of the season is tracking across South Dakota and into Minnesota.  

The storm brought a winter weather advisory to parts of the west, a winter storm warning in Sioux Falls and a blizzard warning to the northeast corner of the state.  

Traffic accidents and no travel advisories are delaying motorists. One accident left a semi-trailer blocking northbound traffic on I-29 near the Vermillion exit.

NOAA: Cold Winter Maybe Ahead For SD

Oct 20, 2016

If you haven’t yet broken out the earmuffs and gloves from summer storage you may need to soon. Much of South Dakota could be in for a colder than normal winter.   

The National Weather Service issued its annual prediction for the coming winter months and it shows a likelihood for cooler temperatures across much of the state.

Gary Ellenbolt / SDPB

A day of heavy rain caused flooding and traffic problems in southeast South Dakota Thursday.  In many cases, the rain taxed city storm sewers to their limits.

Excess rain water is flowing into this storm sewer in Centerville at a more relaxed pace than during powerful storms today.  Storms came in two waves during the day, with the first rains saturating ground that has seen plenty of moisture lately.  That left no place for the rain from the second storm to go.

Centerville Fire Chief Tim Ganschow says it will take a while for the town’s storm sewers to completely drain.


Sep 15, 2016

The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls has issued a Flash Flood Warning for part of southeast South Dakota until 2:30 CDT this afternoon.  Heavy rain has fallen in the region through the morning, and ditches in Yankton and other locations are flooded.

SDPB's Gary Ellenbolt visits with Mike Gillispie of the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls about the dangerous situation:

 Rainfall in western South Dakota this past week is helping to improve drought conditions. Much of the western part of the state has been under serve drought throughout the summer. 

Drought conditions are still persisting in western South Dakota with some areas in extreme drought. Matthew Bunkers is with the National Weather Service in Rapid City. ​ He says recent rainfall is providing short term relief. 

Hermosa Tornado Rated As EF-2

Jun 15, 2016
National Weather Service

Officials with the National Weather Service in Rapid City say a tornado that touched down near Hermosa on Monday was an EF-2. Meteorologist Melissa Smith says the tornado was on the ground for about six miles and 12 minutes.

Tornadoes Touch Down In NE SD

Jun 14, 2016
National Weather Service

A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Aberdeen says three tornadoes touched down in northeast South Dakota today. Ryan Vipond says two occurred in Day County and one in Roberts County. He says to his knowledge, they did not cause any damage.

“Some of the pictures we’ve seen, they look fairly narrow,” Vipond says. “They don’t look very wide, they don’t look very huge, they aren’t appearing to kick up a lot of debris along the surface. But as far as wind speeds or the type of damage they could do it’s really difficult to say at this point.”

Black Hills Wildfire Outlook

May 2, 2016

South Dakota has seen two large wildfires this year and the traditional fire season hasn’t even started. But the state fire meteorologist says the intensity of the coming fire season depends on the amount of spring and summer rain. 

Darren Clabo is the state fire meteorologist.  He says warm and dry conditions this winter and early spring are related to the two large wildfires in the Black Hills. The good news, Clabo says, is that wetter weather is ahead.

SDSU Extension Climate Field Specialist Laura Edwards talks about warmer than average weather predictions for this summer that may affect the growing season for South Dakota farmers and producers. We’ll talk about El Nino, the possibility of drought, and the science of predicting specific weather patterns in a shifting climate.

2015-2016 Winter 11th Warmest On Record In SD

Mar 17, 2016

The Equinox on Sunday the 20th marks the start of spring.   But many South Dakotan’s have already been enjoying some spring like weather.

Officials who track the climate in the state say the past winter was the 11th warmest out of the last 122 years of record.  That includes the timeframe from December 1, 2015 through February 29, 2016.  

Storm Brings High Snow Totals And Messy Roads

Nov 20, 2015

Parts of southeast South Dakota saw 15 inches of snow today. Kyle Weisser is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls. He says the snow totals are drastically different depending on location.

‘15 Wetter Than ‘72 In Parts Of Black Hills

Oct 23, 2015
Charles Michael Ray

Pactola Dam could see the wettest year on record with over 29 inches of rain so far.  Right now 2015 is tracking a close second to the record year of 1962.   

Both years are higher than the 1972 precipitation, the year of the Black Hills Flood.    Weather officials say most of the rain in 1972 fell downstream from Pactola in one large burst.

2015 Breaks Both Dry And Wet Weather Records

Jun 25, 2015
Chynna Lockett

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

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.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers is shifting its focus from drought conservation to flood risk control. Officials are slowing the amount of water that flows through a Yankton dam and keeping higher levels of storage in the state to try to prevent flooding downstream.

Recent thunderstorms have brought rain to states along the Missouri River, and it’s enough runoff for the US Army Corps of Engineers to increase attention to its purpose of managing flood risk. Jody Farhat is chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division.


A weather expert says straight-lined winds of 90 to 100 miles per hour struck the southeast South Dakota town of Garretson. The water is safe, but crews are working on restoring power. Todd Heitkamp with the National Weather Service says the damage indicates strong winds moved in one direction. He says Monday morning’s storm was not a tornado. Heitkamp says winds that high are dangerous and the damage in Garretson is proof.

Strong straight-line winds tore through Garretson early Monday morning. Fire Chief JR Hofer says about 30 people are displaced after the storm.

Severe Storms Possible This Evening

Jun 2, 2015

Parts of the state could see severe weather this evening.

Weather Delays Vestal Project

May 29, 2015
Chynna Lockett

The Vestal project is an ongoing effort to thin out the Ponderosa Pine tree population surrounding Custer. The project is meant to rid the forests of pine beetles and stop large scale wild fires. Matt Spring is the prescribed fire and fuels management specialist with the Black Hills National Forest. He says the project is nearing an end, but recent weather is causing delays.

Storms Dent Drought

May 13, 2015
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.

People in the town of Delmont are now able to sift through the rubble after a tornado. The storm struck the tiny town in southeast South Dakota on Sunday morning. Crews are working to restore basic necessities and assess the damage.  

Initial assessments after Sunday’s storm show 20 buildings sustained damage after an EF-2 tornado tore through Delmont. Kristi Turman is the Division Director of Emergency Services for South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety.

Officials in Minnehaha County have lifted a burn ban. Commissioners issued a burn ban a few weeks ago because dry weather contributed to small planned fires quickly spreading.

Emergency Management Director Lynn DeYoung says the conditions are different now.