Average spring precipitation expected amid drought conditions

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Tuesday, March 1 is the first day of meteorological spring, which is generally the time period when we receive the bulk of the year’s moisture.

Drought Monitor 2-28Summer and fall drought conditions have persisted through winter, which is generally a dry season, and the spring looks to be neutral with average precipitation.

“The spring outlook is actually not favoring anything in particular, meaning equal chances of above or below normal conditions,” says Matthew Bunkers, Science and Operations Officer at the Rapid City National Weather Service.

But even average precipitation likely won’t be enough to pull South Dakota out of the current dry spell. Dry and wet periods often come in five to 10 year intervals and we’re about three springs into drier than normal conditions.

Spring drought elsewhere in the United States also points to dry conditions in the northern plains for spring and summer.

“There is still considerable drought across a large part of the western and southwestern United States. When the southwestern United States especially has drought in the spring, that tends to be associated with drier conditions across the central and northern plains in the summer,” Bunkers adds.

Additionally, the abundance of warm and dry days mixed in with spring snow systems warrants the use of extra caution with any ignition sources. This is due to the dry and warm winds causing low dew points and turning vegetation into fire fuels.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News