Weekend of Heavy Rainfall Starts Summer in South Dakota
A week of interesting weather punctuated the end of May 2014, from tornadoes in Silver City and Ree Heights, to heavy rainfall in Sturgis, Hand County and eastern South Dakota, along with temperatures in the 80s and 90s.
The hot and wet weather across South Dakota ended a month of cool temperatures and relatively dry conditions. The first day of meteorological summer brought 2 to 4 inches of rain to some eastern counties.
“Many eastern and southeastern counties received nearly a month’s worth of precipitation in a single weekend,” said Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension Climate Field Specialist. “Areas of Hand County received 4 to 6 inches on May 30, as a front stalled over the area, bringing some local flash flooding,” said Edwards.
De Smet received 3.38 inches on June 1, and reports in Brookings County showed as much as 2.77 inches the same day.
“The wet weekend was forecasted for several days in advance, but local rainfall amounts of 5 to 8 inches are a challenge to manage, no matter how well they are forecasted,” said Edwards.
Dennis Todey, SDSU State Climatologist, explained several impacts from the heavy rainfall.
“Some of the weather impacts over the weekend included hail up to golf ball size, as was reported the night of May 30 in Edmunds County,” said Todey. “The most common impact reported from the rainfalls were water flowing over roads in many rural areas of Hand and Edmunds County. Street flooding was reported in Brookings and Sioux Falls on June 1 as well as damage to a couple businesses.”
Todey added that the heavy precipitation impacted planted fields. “Crops had emerged, or were soon to emerge, in much of the heavy precipitation area. As a result, tilled fields are especially susceptible to soil loss,” he said. “Many fields saw movement and loss of soil because of the large rainfall totals and high rainfall rate.”
Despite some of the heavy rain and flooding reports, Edwards said overall this weekend brought much needed rain for agricultural areas, yards and gardens. She added that up until this last system of storms, areas west of Missouri River and south of Brookings had been dry since the winter season. This area has been depicted as Abnormally Dry or in Moderate Drought on the U.S. Drought Monitor (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home.aspx) for the last month.
“Low lying areas of fields saw some standing water,” Todey said. “Although the overall impact may not be large, due to the recent dry conditions, soils were able to take up some of the rain and allow much of the rest to drain.”
He said that potential additional agricultural issues include emergence from wet fields or damage to crops which had already emerged. “The overall impact will depend on the speed of draining of the area and any additional rainfall that could come in the near future. Disease issue in wet/flooded fields will also need to be watched,” he said.
Edwards added that the month of May ended just slightly cooler than average overall, because the last week of the month had temperatures 9 to 12 degrees above average. “These warmer conditions with the weekend rainfall have allowed crops and gardens to flourish, but unfortunately so did some weeds and pests,” she said.
Dry and windy conditions will prevail for the next couple of days, with chances increasing for precipitation toward the middle of the week.
The forecast for the next two weeks shows an overall cool and wet pattern over South Dakota. The outlook for the month of June, released on Saturday by the Climate Prediction Center, shows cooler and wetter than average conditions more likely to remain over the area.