Climate update predicts wetter than average April

SDSU Extension
Farm Forum

BROOKINGS — April is more likely to be wetter than average, according to a climate outlook released March 16, 2017 by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center.

“Of anywhere in the United States, the highest likelihood of wetter conditions is in our area,” said Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension state climatologist. “There is a bulls-eye in eastern South Dakota that is projected to have wetter conditions than average in April.”

Edwards explained that this spring outlook is consistent with the long term trend in the region.

“The long term trends in eastern South Dakota over the last several decades has shown more precipitation in the spring and falls seasons,” she said. “The good news is that there is no concern about drought development in the spring season for farmers and gardeners.”

Edwards added that April precipitation has proven to be critical for pasture, forage and hay production throughout the state.

“Abundant moisture would benefit grasslands and hay for livestock feed this summer,” she said.

Due to the above-freezing temperatures throughout February and early March, the soils are now able to absorb some more moisture.

Even though many of the state’s eastern counties had a refreeze, with colder temperatures that started around March 10, Edwards said soils will warm up quickly after the new snow melts.

No substantial flood risks

No regions in South Dakota are at risk for substantial flooding at this time. “According to the NOAA Flood Outlook released March 16, only the far eastern areas in the Minnesota River basin have any risk of even minor flooding,” Edwards said.

The temperature outlook for April shows warmer than average conditions favored to our south and eastern portions of the U.S. but Edwards said it less clear for South Dakota.

“There is some uncertainty on what lies ahead for spring temperatures, with equal chances of warmer or cooler than average in the next three months,” she said.