Parts of South Dakota experiencing drought conditions

RAPID CITY (AP) – Despite the snow and rain South Dakota experienced earlier this week, parts of the state are in a moderate to severe drought, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor.

The precipitation will pause the drought situation, but not for very long, according to state fire meteorologist Darren Clabo.

“So the recent precipitation we got kind of early in the week, it did help the situation,” said Clabo. “However, it really didn’t mitigate the drought conditions that are out there. We still have a lot of dry conditions, especially when it comes to fires, dry fuels."

He tells KOTA-TV temperatures were cold enough in higher elevations that it killed vegetation.

"The temperatures got cold enough to give us that first freeze, that first frost, and so, that’s going to kill off kind of a lot of the grasses that are out there, making them more receptive to fire in the coming days and weeks,” Clabo said.

Lower-elevation prairies saw more rain and still remain dry, he said.

The southwestern corner of the state is in a severe drought, while areas to the west and in the northeast and southeast are in a moderate drought. And, much of the state is abnormally dry, the monitor shows.

Clabo said that in the coming weeks wildfire conditions could ramp up.


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