The latest update to the August climate outlook was released this week, with a forecast of cooler than average temperatures for most of South Dakota. Rainfall forecasts show no clear leaning toward wetter, drier or near normal for the next month, said Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension Climate Field Specialist.
“The cool weather of late July is spilling into August,” Edwards said. “The climate computer models are pretty consistent with cooler than average temperatures for at least the first half of the month.”
According to the report issued by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the area that is projected to have below average temperatures is the Upper Midwest or Great Lakes region, from South Dakota to Ohio. The report also states that warmer than average conditions are forecast for much of the western U.S.
“Currently there remains much uncertainty with the moisture outlook for August,” Edwards said. “Summertime is a challenging season for rainfall prediction, due to the spotty coverage we often see.”
This cool, if not chilly, period in July and August comes at a good time for corn pollination. Stress introduced by warm temperatures and/or a lack of moisture are usually the largest concerns at this time of the growing season, added Dennis Todey, SDSU State Climatologist.
“For the most part, neither of these will be issues that will create a significant impact on the state’s 2013 corn crop,” Todey said. “There is one exception however – the far southeast corner of South Dakota has begun to show some signs of drought stress in the cropping areas. We are watching this area for possible degradation if significant moisture doesn’t come soon.”
Preliminary data from the National Weather Service reports that Sioux Fallshad its ninth driest July on record. Centerville had its thirteenth driest, and Yankton had its nineteenth driest. Cedar Butte in south central South Dakota also was the seventh driest.
“As a result of the dry July and agricultural impacts, the U.S. Drought Monitor this week depicted a one category degradation in the counties of Union, Turner and Lincoln. That area is now in moderate drought status on the updated map,” Todey said.
In contrast, Todey added that Kennebec, Murdo, Selby and Elm Springs had July precipitation totals in the top 10 wettest on record.
The new monthly drought outlook map indicates that areas of drought in the state are likely to persist through August. The cooler than average temperatures will continue to prevent some potential impacts, but there is not enough precipitation expected for widespread improvement in existing drought conditions during the month.
To read more articles about South Dakota’s climate, visit www.iGrow.org.