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Drought Outlook Not Looking Good

July 19, 2012, 5:00 PM by Nicole Winters

Drought Outlook Not Looking Good

Federal forecasters say in some parts of the country the unusually hot, dry weather will linger into fall.

The outlook for August through October shows nearly every state will likely have hotter-than-normal temperatures and much of the Midwest will be drier than normal.

"On the days we're allowed to water, I water a little," Peter Frerichs said.

Compared to many lawns, Frerichs grass is relatively green. But, despite being able to hose down his grass, Frerichs is ready for a break from this hot, dry weather.

"We're praying for rain," Frerichs said.

And he's not alone. Half of South Dakota is now in a severe drought. Much of the other half sits in the moderate range.

"The drought has obviously deteriorated a lot since early June," KELOLAND Meteorologist Brian Karstens said.

Having grown up on a family farm, Karstens has been following the weather pattern closely. He says the latest outlook doesn't give our area much hope.

"Right now the new national outlook from the climate production center is calling for this thing to continue through August at least and possibly longer than that," Karstens said.

Karstens says in order to change the pattern and bring rain; El Nino needs to kick in. But the extreme heat isn't helping.

"The seven day forecast temps make this much worse, because when you're at 95 to 100 degrees, the moisture that it takes to sustain the crop or sustain any kind of vegetation to keep it watered is a much higher factor," Karstens said.

But, until the rain falls the hot dry conditions will put stress on lawns, livestock and crops.

While Frerichs would like the rain to green up the neighborhood, he knows where it's needed most.

"It's hard on the farmers, that’s mainly what concerns us," Frerichs said.

There are conflicting theories on just how long the drought will last.  As for Frerichs, he says this is the driest he has seen it in South Dakota since he moved here in the 1990's.

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