SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It seems this is shaping up to be a summer of the flash drought with no high expectations of a lot of relief in the dry conditions.

Flash droughts happen with lower-than-normal precipitation along with abnormally high temperatures, winds and radiation, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS).

Climatologists and other weather experts said South Dakota experienced some flash drought in 2022 and in 2017. NOAA and NIDIS are citing the factor for areas of the upper Midwest.

Widespread flash drought in the U.S. is often tied to La Niña events but La Niña is leaving the U.S. to be replaced with El Niño. El Niño could bring more precipitation to the upper Midwest but it’s uncertain as of June 8.

Officials connected to the U.S. Army Corps Missouri River Basin said there is a chance some drought areas of the basin could improve as in moving from one drought level to another.

States in the Missouri River Basin include South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and others.

The ongoing drought shows little relief in sight, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said this week in an update of the Missouri River Basin.

Overall, the drought and dry conditions are expected to continue in the lower Missouri River Basin states of South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, said Doug Kluck in the June 8 Missouri River Basin update. Kluck is the central region climate services director for NOAA.

What happened to all that snow?

Some of the spring’s melting snow did run off into streams, lakes and rivers.

The Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, had its 30th lowest annual runoff in 125 years of record keeping, according to the U.S. Army Corps. The runoff totaled 19.3 million acre-feet for 75% of average in 2022. But, the May runoff was higher than average because the snow melted quicker than in most seasons.

John Remus said in a June 8 Missouri River Basin update the U.S. Army Corps said because much of the snow run-off has happened already the basin will need more rainfall to continue the trend of above-average runoff. Remus is the chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management.

Other melting snow was absorbed into the soil.

Back on March 16, South Dakota State Climatologist Laura Edwards said the frost depth was not very deep and a lot of the melting snow would likely be absorbed into the soil. Much of the soil was still dry from the summer of 2022.

“There’s a lot of capacity for the soils to take in some of the at snow melt as it occurs,” Edwards said on March 16.

Most of the upper Midwest was dry in 2022 so any moisture in the winter was needed.

Snowmelt from western states including Wyoming and Montana and Colorado helps fill the Missouri River but deep soil profiles from those areas show that overall soil is still dry, Kluck said.

After a winter of some record snowfall amounts, the drought maps reflect the spotty rain, warm temperatures and wind.

It’s dry and drier

There’s a wide swath of northwestern Iowa in moderate drought. From the border with South Dakota, the drought covers Lyon and Osceola counties, but it’s abnormally dry in Dickinson County with the southwestern corner in moderate drought.

The Iowa drought monitor map from the University of Nebraska/U.S. Drought Monitor.

Sections of Lyon, Sioux and Plymouth counties in Iowa that hug the South Dakota border are in moderate drought.

Much of Iowa is abnormally dry. So is South Dakota.

Sixty-three of the South Dakota’s 66 counties are listed with all of them or parts of them as abnormally dry, moderate drought or severe drought, according to the June 8 U.S. Drought Monitor map from the University of Nebraska. Seven counties are in severe drought while another 21 counties have at least sections of moderate drought or severe drought. The rest of the counties, except three, are fully abnormally dry or have sections that are abnormally dry. Only Meade, Campbell and McPherson counties are outside any dry or drought zones. Edmunds County and Lawrence County are close with only part of the extreme southwestern corners listed as abnormally dry.

June 8 drought monitor map for South Dakota from the University of Nebraska Lincoln/U.S. Drought Monitor.

KELOLAND Weather reported on June 5 about the spotty rainfall around the region with rain falling in some parts of South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa, and missing other parts.

Edwards said her in June report that the first three weeks of May, the southeast and eastern regions of the state had 25% to 50% of average precipitation.

Soil tests from an area near White Lake show how much parts of South Dakota have changed since March 31, said Ryan Larsen of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Omaha. Larsen was a participant in the June 8 Missouri River Basin update.

The soil moisture in the top eight inches has been decreasing since March 31, Larsen said. A lot of drying has happened since mid-May.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources precipitation map from April 1 to June 6 showed some high percentages of above average precipitation in parts of southwestern Minnesota.

The Minnesota Drought Monitor map from the University of Nebraska/U.S. Drought Monitor

The June 8 drought map lists Rock County in southwestern Minnesota in moderate drought with a small northeastern corner as abnormally dry. The DANR precipitation map showed well below average precipitation in that county.

But just to the north, Lyon County is not dry where the DANR precipitation map showed well above average precipitation levels from April 1 through June 6. Most of Murray County is not dry. Most of Pipestone County is abnormally dry.

Things are worse in Nebraska where 1.7 million people were in a drought area in the state as of June 8. Most of the state is an at least severe drought state.

Nebraska Drought Monitor Map from the University of Nebraska/U.S. Drought Monitor

Dixon County, in northeastern Nebraska, has three levels of drought. The lower part of the county is in exceptional drought, the middle is in extreme drought and the top part is in severe drought.