What a difference a year makes. This time last fall, Spearfish Canyon was in early colors due to drought and temps in Rapid City climbed into the 70s.
Now, residents are digging out from the recent blizzard. They also find themselves out of a drought. After more than six inches of moisture dropped on some parts of western South Dakota, we're officially out of the severe drought category.
Only a small fraction of the Badlands remains in the lowest level of drought. The yellow color is abnormally dry. With air and soil temps warmer than in mid-winter, much of the melt off will get the chance to soak in.
It's tough to say how much moisture has already absorbed into the deep subsoil though because most of the reports come from federal sources that have been closed by the government shutdown.
Conditions haven't been this promising since May of last year. Sioux Falls is on the border of two low-end categories, and though we're not free just yet, we're closer than we've been all year long.
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