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A Look Back At This Summer's Weather

September 3, 2012, 10:07 PM by Scot Mundt

A Look Back At This Summer's Weather

From record heat to record dry, the summer of 2012 will be talked about for a long time. 

It didn't take long for KELOLAND to feel the summer heat as many locations hit 90 degrees in mid-May before summer even started. 

By the time meteorological summer began in June, 90s were felt by the third of the month in Sioux Falls. And that was just the beginning of a summer full of hot temperatures.

By the time June was over, Sioux Falls had an average high of 85 degrees, six degrees above average with the hottest part of summer yet to come.

July started with a bang with the first six days in Sioux Falls at 90 degrees or above. It stuck around with 40 days reporting temperatures in that range, nine of those days at 100 or more.

But it was even hotter in central and western South Dakota.

Rapid City topped the charts with 50 days of the 90 degree heat, 12 of those at 100 or hotter. Pierre had 47 days of 90 degrees or hotter, 16 of those at or above 100, including 111 degrees on August 29. 

Aberdeen had 23 days of 90 degree or better heat. Aberdeen and northeast KELOLAND may not have been as hot as other areas, but the northeast and north central parts of South Dakota also had a little more rain.

Rain for June was below average for many in KELOLAND, but few places received a deluge of rain like the more than four inches that fell in Watertown on June 19 and 20. It led to the flooding of the Budget One Motel.  Huron had over two inches during that time.

But those were some of the lucky ones. Drought's grip was getting tighter with each passing day.  The dry skies have been in the making almost three seasons ago. 

State Climatologist Dennis Todey referred to this during an interview in late July,

"We had dry conditions last fall, so, we didn't get moisture back into the soil last fall so we had some dry soil leading off the year," Todey said.

Parts of south central and southeast KELOLAND had a record dry month with just less than three quarters of an inch officially reported in Sioux Falls. Other areas were hard pressed to even get a drop of rain.

While August brought a little rain, the damage from the drought and the heat was already done to crops. Many communities in KELOLAND have had the driest summer on record, including Sioux Falls with just under two and three quarter inches for the summer, beating the previous driest summer of just over three and a half inches set way back in 1894.

The drought monitor from the beginning of summer only showed western and northeast KELOLAND in the abnormally dry category.  Fast forward to the end of summer and it continues to show abnormally dry conditions in north central and northeast South Dakota. But it gets progressively worse from there, getting to the extreme category in western and southeast KELOLAND.

The drought monitor helps show those areas that set records for driest summers including: Vermillion and Yankton, both at under two inches. Centerville, Ft Meade, Sioux Falls and Marion were all under three and Winner and Menno rounded out the list.

Many of the drought stricken areas will need three to six inches of above average rain in one month to make any substantial dent in the current drought.  It's a far cry from the record wet summer of just two years ago.

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