South Dakota snow doesn’t bring drought relief

A weekend blizzard dropped from 5 to 10 inches of snow on most of eastern South Dakota, but it didn’t bring much relief from the drought. When the snow melts, it may contribute about 1 inch of soil moisture, according to Dr. Dennis Todey State Climatologist at South Dakota State University.

“We put a decent amount of snowfall on the ground with this,” Todey told Brownfield Ag News Monday, following the storm. “Unfortunately the amounts of liquid we’re talking about here are nothing too astounding, so we’re not getting too excited about this precipitation just yet.”

With most of the snow falling in the eastern half of the state, Todey said central and western South Dakota winter wheat growers did not benefit as much from snow cover.

A downside to the storm is that the snow creates challenges for cattle producers who will have to move snow out of feedlots. It’s also hard on the cattle themselves.

“Winds fell off overnight into Monday morning and we had temperatures that reached double digits below zero in certain places, so it was pretty rapid change from where we had been throughout the fall and early winter when we’d had fairly moderate temperatures overall,” said Todey.

With snow on the ground reflecting incoming radiation, Todey says the outlook now is for colder than normal temperatures.

AUDIO: Dennis Todey (5 min. MP3)

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