U.S. Drought Monitor shows notable disparities between different regions of of South Dakota

Current drought conditions across South Dakota.
Current drought conditions across South Dakota.(KOTA)
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 3:10 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A map of South Dakota, released today by the U.S. Drought Monitor, shows notable disparities between the different regions of the state. Substantially hazardous drought conditions in the East are represented on today’s monitor, indicated by large swaths of “severe” and “extreme” drought, that are contrasted by the significantly less dry Western Counties. “Moderate Drought” and “Unusually Dry” conditions - the two lowest form of drought indicators - encompass counties like Pennington, which only weeks ago saw prominent risk of potentially widespread wildfire danger.

Weather patterns come in waves. In 2019, for example, we were publishing flood stories across the entire state. South Dakota was, if you were to refer to the Drought Monitor, covered almost entirely in white, meaning no dryness and no drought. Over the past few weeks Rapid City and the surrounding areas have had rain; the Eastern region of the state has not. This does not mean that counties on the Western side of the Missouri River should let down their guard. The hot dry summer days, like today, can again change that weather map, and fire danger and safety remain issues to always keep in mind.

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