National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Drought Conditions Continue Across Parts of Western South Dakota

Updated: November 16, 2017

Next Issuance: December 2017


Recent cooler weather combined with the end of the growing season have kept drought conditions constant over the past month. Typically, drought conditions don't change very much during the late fall or winter unless significant precipitation is received. Precipitation during the winter is typically minimal, accounting for less than 10% of the annual precipitation over the plains and about 15% of the annual precipitation in the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains. 

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor depicts:

  • Extreme (D3) drought conditions across far southwestern Ziebach, southeastern Perkins, eastern Meade, eastern Pennington, and far northwestern Haakon Counties.
  • Severe (D2) drought conditions covered the rest of Perkins County as well as parts of far northeastern Harding, far eastern Butte, central Meade, eastern Pennington, northern and western Oglala Lakota, northeastern Fall River, northern Jackson, western Haakon, and northern Ziebach Counties. 
  • Moderate (D1) drought in South Dakota covered the rest of Harding, Butte, Meade, Pennington, Fall River, Oglala Lakota, Jackson, Haakon, and Ziebach Counties, as well as Custer, eastern Lawrence, Bennett, western Todd, and western Mellette Counties. In northeastern Wyoming, Moderate (D1) drought conditions covered far northeastern Campbell and northern Crook Counties.
  • Abnormally dry (D0) conditions covered the rest of Crook and northern Campbell Counties in northeastern Wyoming, as well as rest of western South Dakota. 

U.S. Drought Monitor

U.S. Drought Monitor High Plains U.S. Drought Monitor 

Summary of Impacts

Drought impacts continue to be reported by agricultural producers as crops are harvested. Stock ponds and dugouts are dry or contain water of poor quality. Numerous pasture and hay lands have not been able to recover from the dry conditions over the summer.

Climate Summary

So far in November, temperatures have been above average and precipitation has been near to below average. For a listing of individual station precipitation amounts for January through October, click here

Precipitation and Temperature Outlook

Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean are below average, indicating La Niña conditions. The outlook for the winter and spring is for La Niña conditions to continue. For the northern plains this pattern typically favors near average temperatures for the early part of winter, trending to below average temperatures by the middle of the winter which would last through the spring. For precipitation, near average amounts are expected in most areas with the possibility of above average precipitation across northwestern South Dakota, northeastern Wyoming, and the northern Black Hills. However, this pattern also tends to bring less precipitation for the southern Black Hills and far southwestern South Dakota. Overall, precipitation in the winter is only around an inch for the December through February time period and is only about 7% of the annual precipitation.

Climate Prediction Center Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks

The outlook for December calls for near to below average temperatures and above average precipitation.  

The three-month outlook for December, January, and February calls for increased odds toward below average temperatures and above average precipitation.

 Temperature Outlook Precipitation Outlook

Climate Prediction Center U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook 

The U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook indicates drought conditions will persist through the winter.

Seasonal Drought Outlook 

Hydrologic Summary and Outlook

According to the Bureau of Reclamation, October end of month reservoir elevations at Angostura, Belle Fourche, Deerfield, Keyhole, and Pactola were above average for this time of the year. However, end of the end of month reservoir elevation for Shadehill was below average. October inflows into theses reservoirs were mainly below average, with the exception of inflows into Angostura and Pactola which were above average. 

According to the U.S. Geological Survey 28-day average streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the day of the year indicates normal conditions across much of the area.

Map of 28-day average streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the day of the year (United States)

Links to hydrologic data from the U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Reclamation can be found below.

Related Drought Links


The drought monitor is a multi-agency effort involving NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) and the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), State and Regional Climate Centers, and the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Information for this statement has been gathered from a number of different federal, state, and local agencies including the NWS and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Observing Sites, State Cooperative Extension Services, United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and many more. 

Questions or Comments

If you have any questions or comments about this drought information please contact,

Melissa Smith
Service Hydrologist


Matthew Bunkers
Science and Operations Office

National Weather Service
300 East Signal Drive
Rapid City South Dakota 57701
605-341-9271 ext. 493