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Darren R. Clabo

State Fire Meteorologist, South Dakota

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Current Conditions at SDSM&T


Daily Weather Discussion (updated 05/03/2016 08:54)  (click your refresh button to ensure most recent forecast)

Northerly flow is found at the upper levels over SD this morning ahead of a ridge that is now building across the Northern Rockies. With the ridge off to our west, warm air advection is in place which alludes to the warmer temperatures we will see throughout the week. This morning temperatures are in the 40s and 50s across the Rushmore State with light westerly winds. Skies are mostly clear.

A very pleasant day is in store today as that upper level ridge builds into the region. High temperatures today will be in the low 70s across the state. Northwesterly winds are expected statewide with breezy conditions over the northeast. There are Red Flag Warnings out for adjacent parts of western MN and southeastern ND today but conditions across SD shouldn't quite reach RFW criteria... needless to say, fire danger will be enhanced over the northeast anyhow. Minimun RHs there will fall to the 25-30% range. Mostly clear skies are expected throughout the day.

A similarly pleasant day is expected tomorrow with the upper level ridging in place. High temperatures will range from the mid/upper 60s east to the mid 70s west. Winds over East River areas will be out of the north while West River will see southeasterly flow. Again, mostly clear skies are expected. Minimum RHs will fall down into the 25-30% range statewide.

Critical Fire Weather

No critical fire weather expected over SD the week of April 25. 


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Weekly Weather Update:

Weekly Weather Update:  Monday 4 January 2016


(Climate) Not too much to say besides the limited snowpack across SD to start the New Year (see figure below). (Dennis Todey)


(Weather) An upper level ridge is currently over the central part of the US with light winds aloft above South Dakota. At the surface, high pressure is off to our southeast resulting in southeasterly winds across the state. Temperatures will vary considerably across the state today with a strong inversion in place: highs over/around the Black Hills will be in the 50s, highs over West River prairies are expected to be in the 30s and 40s with East River highs expected in the 20s. Those southeasterly winds will remain in place throughout the day under mostly clear skies. Minimum RHs are expected to be below 20% over the Black Hills this afternoon which will allow for the fire danger to be elevated locally in those areas with little snow cover.


A weak area of low pressure will nudge into the state tomorrow. This will result in light northwesterly winds over northwestern SD, southwesterly winds over the central part of the state and southerly winds over the eastern third of SD. Temperatures will be somewhat similar to today with highs ranging from the 40s west to the upper 20s east with the potential of highs near 50 over the Black Hills. Skies will be partly cloudy statewide.


Temperatures will cool dramatically over much of SD on Wednesday as a cold front moves through the state. Highs will only be in the 20s and 30s, coolest over north-central parts of SD. Light northeasterly winds are expected over most of SD with some southerly flow over the far southeast. Some fog is possible over the western half of the state on Wednesday morning with the light upslope flow. There is also a slight chance for a snow shower or two over eastern SD but no accumulation is expected. Cloudy skies are expected there with partly cloudy skies expected over the western half of the state.


Similar conditions are expected on Thursday with highs ranging from the 20s north to the 30s south. Some freezing fog/freezing drizzle is possible across the state during the first half of the day and we’ll have to keep our eye on this to see how it affects the travel conditions. Light east to northeast winds are expected. A few light snow showers may fall over the southern half of the state but accumulating snow is highly unlikely.


A much stronger cold front will then move into the region on Friday. This will result in moderate northwest winds throughout the day. High temperatures will range from the 20s west to the 30s east. There is a slight chance of snow across all of the state on Friday with a dusting to an inch of accumulation possible.


Reinforcing cold air is expected to move into the northern Great Plains this weekend. This will keep high temperatures in the teens to low 20s on Saturday with single digits to teens for highs on Sunday. Northwesterly winds will continue both days which may lead to some wind chill issues. Skies are expected to be partly to mostly cloudy through the weekend. Overnight low temps on both Saturday and Sunday night will likely be around or below the 0 degree mark.


Summary: No fire weather issues are expected this week and much colder temperatures will move in this weekend. (Darren Clabo)


(Fire/Fuels) No major fire issues to report.  Major pile burning activity in the Black Hills contributed to good progress of fuels management projects in meeting goals. No expected fire activity in areas of snow cover, but keep in mind, not all of South Dakota is holding snow pack. Any open range found in the northern part of the state may carry some smoldering or creeping fire if conditions are above freezing and there is a wind on a dry day. Exposed south-facing aspects within many areas of the Black Hills do not have snow cover as well: fire could run up a southern exposure and stop at the top of the hill. Snowpack across the Black Hills is below normal with some considerable variation in snow depth over the central and northern portions of the Hills. (Jim Strain/Darren Clabo)


*** NOTE: Next update on Monday 11 January ***





Darren Clabo, SD State Fire Meteorologist:

Dennis Todey, SD State Climatologist:

Jim Strain, SD Assistant Fire Chief:



Darren R. Clabo * State Fire Meteorologist/Instructor * Institute of Atmospheric Sciences

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology * 501 East Saint Joseph Street * Rapid City, SD 57701 * (O) 605-394-1996 * (C) 605-381-9253 *