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a map showing the precipitation outlook for June 2020

Summer 2020 Climate & Drought Outlook

August 26, 2020

With alternating cool and warm weather patterns throughout the last few months and the summer season ahead, temperature continues to be a challenge for climate forecasters in South Dakota.

3-D rendering of proposed low-head dam project above Lake Mitchell.

Senior Design Project Has Potential to Become Lake Mitchell Water Quality Project

SDSU Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering students, as a senior design project, recommended constructing a retention structure on a property near Lake Mitchell in order to reduce the phosphorus content entering the lake.

A map of South Dakota with several colored boxes indicating areas of increased flood risk. For a complete description, visit the National Weather Service website at: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/long_range.php?wfo=fsd

Get to Know Your Local Emergency Management Director

The warmer weather and spring migration this March have us all thinking of better days ahead. Unfortunately, it also has us thinking about flooding again this spring.

A sump pump and emergency backup battery set up in a basement. Courtesy: Jeff Covey (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Flooding and Sump Pumps

For many homes with a basement or crawl space, a sump pump and drainage system can help reduce the risk of a basement flooding from high water table situations. Here are a few tips for making sure your sump pump is working as it should, and you are not causing problems for your neighbors downstream.

a map of the United States with different colors showing the precipitation outlook variations.

Fall Frost and September Climate Outlook for 2019

September 2019 has been pleasantly warmer than usual, and our crops need every bit of that warmth to reach maturity before our first frost arrives. Fortunately, temperatures have cooled slightly this week but just to near average for this time of year.

A heavily tilled field showing signs of severe topsoil loss due to erosion. Next to it, there is a no-till field with no noticeable signs of erosion.

Multiple Rounds of Severe Weather Bring Heavy Rainfall, High Winds, and Soil Erosion

A combination of tillage, no residue, and lack of crop canopy can lead to severe erosion and topsoil loss in the face of extreme weather patterns in the spring. The most effective strategy for producers to adapt to these extreme events is to improve soil health.

NOAA climate map with preciptation outlook as of July 12, 2020. Most of South Dakota is predicted to have average to above average precipitation.

Late Summer 2020 Climate Outlook

Drought concerns in South Dakota may be relieved later this summer, according to the NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s seasonal outlook released this week.

Country road with a thunderstorm approaching in the distance.

Summer Severe Weather Safety

Hail, high winds, heavy rain, lightning, tornadoes. These weather phenomena are common during South Dakota summers. Stormy weather can be beautiful to see, especially in our evening skies, but it can also be dangerous or life-threatening.

ice covered buildings and trees

Power Outages and Food in Your Freezer

South Dakota is no stranger to power outages and power surges from blizzards, ice storms and related weather conditions. If the power in your area has experienced intermittent or complete loss of electrical power, or power surges, check all freezers occasionally to be sure they work properly.

A slatted floor with an open area. A hose is running into the open area.

New Technology for an Old Problem

One of the last projects I was involved with as coordinator for the Lower James River Watershed Project was the installation of a deep pit monoslope barn for a feedlot operation near Alexandria, SD. A deep pit confinement barn is a manure storage system that employs slatted flooring with pit manure storage underneath.