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RED SKY: Red skies in the morning, a sign that it is going to rain, may be a more common sight through April.

South Dakota drought worries ease

West River outlook calls for above-average precipitation through April.

Chances that there will be a drought in western South Dakota this spring are diminishing.

The precipitation outlook for the next three months from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center shows a higher likelihood of wetter-than-average conditions through April for the western and northern regions of the state, according to Laura Edwards, South Dakota’s acting state climatologist and South Dakota State University Extension climate field specialist.

WEATHER OUTLOOK: The National Weather Service Climate Outlook Center’s three-month outlook favors higher-than-average precipitation through April through much of the Northern Plains.

"The southeast corner of the state is projected to have equal chances of wetter, drier or near-average precipitation through April," she says.

The three-month projection by the Climate Prediction Center of wetter-than-average conditions is good news, “but there are still some lingering concerns of having sufficient water to meet the demand, especially for agricultural production in 2017," she says.

Snow reports from the Black Hills have been close to average, if not slightly above average, so far this season.

In the southeast — with the outlook for equal chances of wetter, drier or near-average precipitation through April 2017 — there is no concern over whether or not there will be enough moisture to begin the growing season, she says.

"With the wet fall and early winter, there is enough moisture in the soils to begin in the spring, with just a little more than average for this time of year,” she notes.

The temperature outlook for February through April indicates that colder-than-average temperatures are more likely to prevail in the northern and northwestern counties of South Dakota.

"Colder-than-average temperature is currently the most challenging aspect of the outlook for the spring, as this can hold back planting and spring fieldwork in the northern counties," she says.

Source: SDSU Extension

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