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Dry, windy weather adds to continuing drought concerns

Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 6:12 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Over the last 10 months, South Dakota has been experiencing very dry weather that has not only affected farmers and crop production but also growing concerns of fire.

Since last summer, Southeastern South Dakota has experienced below-normal rain and snowfall.

“Currently we’re carrying over a lot of dryness from last fall. We didn’t have much snow to speak of in the winter season, and then really this last two weeks across the south we’ve had some rain and snow that have really helped a lot,” said SDSU Extension State Climatologist Laura Edwards.

The Drought Monitor is showing most of South Dakota in a moderate to severe drought. It’s why the National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning.

“Red Flag Warning is issued by the weather service when conditions are low humidity and high winds,” said Lincoln County Emergency Manager Harold Timmerman.

Timmerman says if you have an enclosed fire pit those are okay at this time, but advises to keep open fires such as leftover trees and branches untouched right now.

“With wind like this it can jump a road like that very easily, and it’s hard to keep up with those fires when the wind is strong like it is today,” said Timmerman.

Climatologists say April-June is a crucial time to get rain and collect moisture for the year, and if South Dakota stays dry during those months, it could impact more than just the agriculture industry.

“Could be yards, watering, washing cars, pools if we get deep into a drought, I could see some areas seeing some water restrictions this year being the second year in a row that we’ll see drought conditions in South Dakota,” said Edwards.

Lincoln County Emergency Manager says if the dryness and high winds continue, a burn ban could be on the way.

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