Drought worsens in west central South Dakota

The latest edition of the U.S. Drought Monitor was released last week and reflects worsening drought in the west central part of South Dakota, says Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension Climate Field Specialist.

 "An expansion of Extreme Drought (D3) is depicted in this week's map," Edwards said.

 Extreme drought has now taken over Haakon and Jackson counties, and portions of the surrounding counties as well. This level of drought covers more than a quarter of the state – up from 17 percent in the previous week. Edwards says the latest map, released Aug. 30, shows no change in the other drought severity categories.

 Edwards says water levels in rivers and streams, the recent hot and dry weather, in addition to field condition reports have all contributed to the one category change on the U.S. Drought Monitor.

"Streamflow levels for the last week have been much lower than normal for this time of year, and temperatures were in the 90s with little rain," Edwards said.

 Over the last 30 days, the new Extreme Drought region has received less than half of normal rainfall. The last week has been 2 to 6 degrees above average, which cut short any relief from the cooler temperatures that were spread across the state a couple of weeks ago.

 Elsewhere in the state, hot and dry weather took over in recent days. The outlook for the next five days appears to continue with below average rainfall, with some scattered small amounts in the eastern half of the state.

 SDSU Extension will provide weekly drought briefings throughout the 2012 growing season. To keep up to date on how the drought is impacting South Dakota's agriculture industry, visit iGrow.org.

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