Ringing in spring; here’s what we expect for the next three months

RAPID CITY, S.D. — March 20 was the first day of spring, with temperatures soaring into the 70s.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released their spring outlook, in which they predict these warm temperatures to continue.

“The trend for the temperature is a better chance for warmer than normal temperatures,” says Rapid City National Weather Service Meteorologist, Susan Sanders.

In addition to above average temperatures, South Dakota is expecting worsening drought conditions.

“In March, we start getting more precipitation,” Sanders adds. “It peaks in May, and so that’s when we really need the moisture out because most of our precipitation falls in those spring months and into early summer. So if we don’t get it, our deficit really, really increases.”

We’ll remain in a La Niña pattern, so if you hear that term floating in the spring breeze, here’s what it means for us.

“For southwestern South Dakota especially, the correlation between La Niña and our spring weather isn’t as strong as the winter conditions. So sometimes with a La Niña, we can have a wet spring. Sometimes we can have a dry spring, but with the current trend, it looks like a better chance of a dry spring. We tend not to have as many storms during a dry summer,” Sanders says.

CloudsAs we move into planting season, each drop of precipitation will be welcome.

“That lack of moisture will definitely affect the grass growing for ranchers and farmers. It’ll affect the water supply, so it’ll affect everything that depends on water. Then combined with warmer temperatures, it can also increase fire danger,” says Sanders.

In addition to being extra cautious around any potential ignition sources, officials remind us not to let our guard down. Big storms can develop even during dry seasons.

“We tend not to have as many storms during a dry summer,” explains Sanders. “That obviously makes sense, but you never know where that one hailstorm or that one tornado could occur. We’ve also had flash floods in very, very dry areas. So if just that one storm falls within that one area, we could still have some dangerous conditions.”

Of course, the NewsCenter1 weather team will keep you informed with the latest updates all season long.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News