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Darren R. Clabo

State Fire Meteorologist, South Dakota

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Daily Weather Discussion (updated 04/03/2014 15:58)  (click your refresh button to ensure most recent forecast)

2014 SD Fire Potential Outlook

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No critical fire weather concerns across SD today.





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Weekly Weather Update:

Weekly Weather Update:  Monday 9 September 2013

(Climate) The basis of the situation is that most of west river SD is in at least decent shape.  People are indicating needing some moisture in places, especially south.  But conditions do not seem serious, yet.  The Northern tier of counties is actually quite wet. Much of east river is drying out quickly because of continued warm temperatures and little precipitation.  Crops are starting to dry out prematurely and could become a fire hazard earlier than we would expect.  If rain does not occur very soon we are going to continue drying out throughout the east. (Dennis Todey)

(Weather) The upper level ridge that has been persisting over the northern Great Plains is finally breaking down in response to a potent little trough now over the MT/ND border. This is putting South Dakota in southwesterly flow aloft which is aiding the transport of monsoonal moisture to the area. A current surface analysis shows a low pressure system over the northeastern corner of the state with a cold front running to the south. Temperatures have peaked in the lower 90s over far eastern SD (areas ahead/along the front) while western SD is seeing much cooler temperatures behind the front with highs only in the 70s. Northwesterly winds are seen over most of the state behind the cold front.

The cold front/low pressure system will continue to track eastward tomorrow. This will again bring northwesterly winds to all of SD as a high pressure system works its way into the area. Cool temperatures are expected with highs in the 70s and 80s. High pressure will stall out over the state on Wednesday and high temperatures will be similar to Tuesday. Light and variable winds are expected. A few showers and thunderstorms are possible over southwestern SD on Wednesday and Wednesday night but the rest of the state should remain rain free. The high pressure system then moves off to the northeast on Thursday bringing east to northeast winds back to the state. With cool air surrounding the high pressure system, temperatures may not make it out of the 70s for the vast majority of the state. A couple of showers and thunderstorms are possible over the Black Hills and southwestern portions of the state.

Southeasterly winds are likely Friday as a weak low pressure system develops over north-central WY. Temperatures will be in the 70s over western SD to near 80 over eastern SD. Showers and thunderstorms are likely overnight into Saturday morning over western SD as a cold front nears the area. Winds will shift from the southeast to the north or northwest from west to east across the state during the day. In addition, showers and thunderstorms are likely over most of South Dakota. The Black Hills will be favored area for rain although chances for precipitation will be elevated statewide. These showers and thunderstorms, along with the cold front will push out of the state on Sunday. Breezy north winds are likely with highs only in the 70s. Summary: conditions will not be favorable for large fire growth over the next 5-7 days. (Darren Clabo)

(Fire/Fuels) The general trends for fuel moisture the past week has been the farther north a firefighter works in the GPC zone, the less available fuels are for large fire growth because of increased fuel moistures in dead fuels and some green-up in cool season grasses past week from moisture. The moisture and precipitation this weekend has pushed that trend along.   The cool-season grass should get greener as the month progress till a killing frost in the northern parts of the zone makes fuels more available again. The south end of the GPC zone, especially the areas in Nebraska south of sandhills, are really getting dry and hot weather has been drying those fuels apace.  Continued high fire danger will persist in that area of the zone into next week. The last week has seen several small single tree snag fires from lightning, and even some 3 to 5 acres lightning caused fires in duff-timber litter models.  Expect that trend to continue in those one hour fuels, till we get snow, as it appears that lightning activity will still persist in the next week.  The big issue for fuels and fire danger is eastern SD, as fuels continue to dry and with no moisture relief. (Jim Strain)

*** NOTE: Next update on Monday 16 September ***


 Seasonal Outlook (updated 18 July 2013)


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 *