August climate update |

August climate update

Throughout July 2015 conditions were quite variable across South Dakota, said Dennis Todey, South Dakota State Climatologist & SDSU Extension Climate Specialist.

“Early July started off fairly cool across the state,” said Todey, explaining that warmer temperatures during the mid and latter part of the month helped to bring temperatures closer to average for the month. “Throughout most of South Dakota, temperatures were within about a degree of average – making the overall climate conditions generally good for crop development and livestock,” he said. “A few extreme events did occur, but were not long-lived.”

Precipitation helped prevent drought

During July, several areas of the state went two to three weeks with little to no precipitation resulting in dry conditions developing. However, Todey pointed out that late-July precipitation, along with other isolated storm events, during the month, helped resolve some of the developing dryness issues. “Much of eastern South Dakota had 3 to 5-plus inches of precipitation,” Todey said, “Which is as much as 2 inches above average.”

Precipitation totals in some areas reached more than 8 inches resulting in several communities ranking July 2015 as the top 10 wettest on record, including; Academy, White Lake and Vermilion.

With the exception of the Black Hills, Todey said much of Western South Dakota turned dry during July. “Following the wet May and June there are limited issues to this point,” he said.

August 2015 outlook

Looking ahead to August, Todey said South Dakota is expected to experience a few large changes, according to the recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center Outlooks.

“Temperatures are likely going to be close to, or slightly below average over the state and areas to the south of South Dakota,” Todey said. “The impact will be to reduce potential stress conditions for crops which are still somewhat dry.”

Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension Climate Field Specialist added that below average temperatures would also produce below average growing degree days (GDDs). “Current GDD accumulations are around average over the state,” she said. “With the likely cooler temperatures, corn in particular, will likely lose a little development ground. This situation should be monitored, but should not be a major problem.”

The precipitation outlook leans to the wet side for August, with above average accumulations more likely. “Over most of the state this will not be a problem – except for the wetter areas in southwest South Dakota and a few small wet pockets elsewhere in the state,” said Edwards. “Unless the accumulations are very high – additional moisture would be beneficial for the dry areas west of the river.”

She said, referencing the few areas which are currently rated as Abnormally Dry or D0 according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“This outlook is consistent with impacts expected from the ongoing El Niño event,” she said. “Near average to wetter conditions and slightly cooler conditions are mostly likely during the latter part of the growing season during El Niño events.”

To keep up with changing climate conditions throughout the month, visit or follow SDSU Climate on Facebook.

–SDSU Extension