Drained: Drought conditions plague much of South Dakota

KELOLAND.com Original
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Drought-like conditions persist across KELOLAND, and Wednesday’s brief showers of precipitation did little to change the water levels in the state, with rainfall totals staying low all across the state.

May 5 Precipitation

According to the University of Nebraska, Lincoln drought monitor, portions of 12 South Dakota counties across the northwest portion of the state are in extreme drought. Meanwhile, parts of an additional 12 counties, concentrated on the eastern edge of the state, are not in drought. Between these areas lie bands of abnormally dry, moderate and severe drought.

UNL Drought Monitor

Despite these prolonged drought conditions, according to the U.S. Geological Survey most of the rivers in the state are flowing at normal capacity, with some even flowing at slightly above average capacity for this time of year. Scattered across the state are sections of river flowing below normal, and there is only one, the South Fork Bad River near Cottonwood, SD, is categorized as ‘much below normal.’ There are no sections in the state categorized as low, much above normal or high.

USGS Streamflow

Of the stream segments marked as below normal, the majority of them lie to the west of the Missouri River. The segments that are marked as having an above normal flow are all within the area of the Black Hills, comprising segments of Rhodes Fork, Castle Creek and Rapid Creek.

While conditions in KELOLAND are dry, we are faring better than some of our regional neighbors. Nearly all of North Dakota falls under the category of extreme drought, while areas of Colorado have found themselves facing exceptional drought.

UNL Drought Monitor

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