Precipitation in September sets records |

Precipitation in September sets records

Western South Dakota September precip totals:

Rapid City 4.82 inches

Edgemont 5.04 inches

Wind Cave 4.60 inches

Oral 4.16 inches

Almost exactly a year ago, western South Dakota experienced a severe blizzard which had devastating impacts on the livestock industry, trees and the electric infrastructure.

In the last week many of the same locations received similar precipitation totals. Due to warmer overall temperatures which produced rain only, the outcome was much different this time, explained Dennis Todey, South Dakota State Climatologist & SDSU Extension Climate Specialist.

“No snow was reported at any recording stations,” Todey said.

He added that rainfall in and adjacent to the Black Hills totaled 3 to 5 inches or slightly more. Much of Rapid City experienced 4 to 5 inches, with reports of more than 5 inches from the Edgemont area. “The 5-inch totals in Edgemont would account for a third of their annual average. It occurred during what is more typically a drier period of the year,” Todey said.

These storm totals, along with some additional precipitation earlier in the month, have helped to set some monthly precipitation totals for September across much of the western quarter of South Dakota. Todey said Rapid City precipitation levels were the second highest on record in more than a century.

The precipitation record was set September 1913 at 5.07-inches.

Todey clarifies that data contained in this release contains updated information for Rapid City as there was an error in initial reporting which inaccurately listed a total higher than it actually is.

Edgemont, Oral and Wind Cave set wettest all time records for September, but had 50 years or fewer of precipitation records, “A number of other stations’ data ranked in the top five for September precipitation records,” Todey said.

“Once all monthly data is available, we may see additional records set for September 2014,” Todey said.

Impacts of excess moisture

Todey said the main impact of the excess precipitation throughout September 2014 was flooding. He added that the precipitation will wet soils, which will generally stay wet into the spring. “Moisture deeper in the soil moisture profile will not be extracted this late in the growing season. Soil surfaces will be able to dry somewhat,” he said.

In contrast to the west, Todey said much of eastern South Dakota was quite dry during the month of September. “Parts of the state from south central to the northeast received less than half their average precipitation for September,” he said.

He explained that records for low precipitation totals are a bit more difficult to set in the fall because historically, the fall season is dry. However, several stations in the northeast did reach top 10 status including; Webster, Britton, Summit, Columbia and Mellette.

“The impact of the eastern dryness has been relatively minimal. Dry conditions around harvest have allowed crops to reach maturity and start drying down,” Todey said. “With the late developing crop this year, the drydown period is very important.”

He added that at this point, the lack of moisture has not been severe enough to cause long term issues.

30-day outlook

The updated 30-day outlook for October 2014 were also updated on September 30. The outlook indicated increased chances for wetter and cooler conditions mainly over the eastern portions of the state. “With the aforementioned crop delays, these outlooks could cause a little more problem with harvest,” Todey said. “The main thing I am concerned about throughout most of the row crop area is slower dry down. Most locations have soils that are not too wet at this point and can deal with some additional moisture before limiting field work.” F

–SDSU Extension

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