Western South Dakota experiences different types of droughts

The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 12:57 AM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - While we are not currently in a snow drought and the snowiest time for Western South Dakota is still a few months away. The current drought conditions started in the early Spring of 2022.

“We actually dried out, usually March and April are our two snowiest months. However, starting about mid-March, we just really didn’t get the spring snowfall that we’re used to, and that kind of led to having those drier conditions throughout the summer and then into the fall.” National Weather Service Hydrologist Melissa Smith stated.

Western South Dakota normally goes through a 5-to-10-year cycle of wet and dry periods which can lead to us seeing several types of droughts like Agricultural, Socioeconomic, and Hydrologic Droughts.

“Hydrologic drought, right now we’re seeing a lot of that when it comes to areas like along the White River. There are many locations along the White River where the water is not flowing at the current time. We are just coming out of that 5-to-10-year wet period, so the odds are favored for us to be drier for the next 5 to 10 years or so.” Smith added.

While snow is not the most popular precipitation type and there is not much moisture content to it. Snow does play a key role in recharging our aquifers.

Galen Hoogestraat from the U.S. Geological Survey stated “Snow tends to melt a little more slowly and it refills the aquifers... better than a quick thunderstorm event might. When we recharge our aquifers, it helps sustain our stream flow and our reservoir situation for several years.”

If you want to learn more about the several types of droughts, you can head to:

https://www.drought.gov/what-is-drought/drought-basics#types-of-drought