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Total Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Warning count by year for our county warning area, since 1996. Credit Daryl Herzmann at the Iowa Environmental Mesonet (


Severe weather season across western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming is relatively short compared to much of the Plains and eastern U.S. but also relatively active. Typically, the Rapid City weather forecast office issues around 300 Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Warnings per year (shown at left), with the majority coming from late May through August. As a result, during most years, we are among the top ten offices in terms of warnings issued. In 2020, our count of 426 was fifth in the country.

This climatology page will provide a look at our typical annual and diurnal cycles of Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Warnings and their associated hazards: large hail, damaging straight-line winds, and, of course, tornadoes.

Many of the images herein are courtesy of Daryl Herzmann at the Iowa Environmental Mesonet, while data for the climatology was provided by the Storm Prediction Center and, specifically, Andy Dean. If you have any questions or suggestions for additions, please email those to our meteorologist maintaining this page, Keith Sherburn.



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