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Summer climate outlook is warmer and drier

drought monitor map 042522
U.S. Drought Monitor
U.S. Drought Monitor Map of South Dakota for the week of April 21, 2022, with red indicating "extreme" drought.

The summer climate outlook for South Dakota is trending toward more warm and dry weather.

The state climatologist says dry conditions will hang around, and possibly intensify this summer.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says La Nina conditions will persist, bringing warmer and drier conditions through July. La Nina is a natural, periodic cooling in the Pacific Ocean that can change the weather worldwide.

Laura Edwards is the state climatologist. She says there’s some short-term optimism in the northwestern part of the state, where snow is piled up from recent storms.

However, she says the upcoming spring and summer will look a lot like last year.

“We may see some improvements in some areas in the state in the drought situation in the short term,” Edwards says. “But long term, as we progress through the growing season, things are going to be tough again.”

Edwards says farmers and ranchers have already made tough decisions as the state enters its third year of drought.

All of Gregory County in the south-central part of the state is in an extreme drought classification. Edwards says those classifications only happen in the state three to five times a century.