Dry conditions in NE South Dakota not yet worrisome

Farm Forum

At least half of South Dakota is categorized as abnormally dry, with a small area considered in a moderate drought.

Drought categories are listed by the National Drought Mitigation Center, which places much of Roberts and Day counties in a moderate drought, with small parts of Marshall, Brown, Spink, Clark, Codington and Grant counties also in a moderate drought.

National Weather Service meteorologist Travis Tarver said there’s nothing alarming about these conditions right now.

“Basically, we’re in an abnormally dry period,” he said explaining that drought concerns will become more prominent if limited precipitation continues for the rest of the winter and into the spring.

A quick look at precipitation statistics for Aberdeen this past year provides a clear indication why the Hub City area is included. According to preliminary monthly climate data from the weather service, in all of 2014, a total of 17.78 inches of precipitation fell. This total takes into account the 26 inches of snowfall, which was converted to its equivalent in precipitation. In all, 10 of the 12 months recorded below-average precipitation, leaving the immediate area with a deficit of nearly 4 inches for the year.

As it sits right now, Tarver said, it appears South Dakota may start spring on the dry side, but significant snowfall in February and March could change that outlook.