July is cool, especially wet in Custer County
Published: Thursday, August 8th, 2013
This time last year, Custer County was in the grips of a drought, stifling heat and rampant fire conditions that caused the Myrtle Fire and dozens of other fires throughout the summer.
What a difference a year makes.
This summer, Custer County — and most of the Black Hills, for that matter — has experienced cooler temperatures and plenty of precipitation, including 3.87 inches of precipitation in July in Custer County, easily surpassing the 2.75 average the county normally receives in July.
“Normally this time of year we get a ridge of pressure over the Western United States that heats us up and dries us out,”âï¿½ï¿½said Scott Rudge, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Rapid City. “That’s just not occurring yet. In the next two or three weeks, we could see that happen, but right now we’re staying in this pattern.”
Rudge said the moisture from the Gulf of Mexico continues to make it into the Dakotas, which causes humidity and moisture and continues to create the frequent rain and hail storms.
“It’s been fairly widespread,”âï¿½ï¿½Rudge said of the wet weather.
In addition to the wet weather, Custer was also cooler than normal in July, seeing an average high of 78 degrees compared to the usual 80, and an average low of 53 degrees, compared to an average of 54. The coolest day of July came July 27, when the high was only 63 and the low was 44.
The wettest July on record was 7.84 inches in 1923. Second wettest was 6.6 inches in 1922. This year's July was the 20th wettest on record.
Early Saturday morning a heavy dose of hail was followed by over an inch of rain, which washed the hail toward the east end of town, plugging storm drains and causing a winter-like scene in the South 7th and South 8th street areas, where over a foot of hail had gathered. City public works director Bob Morrison said he was awakened at 4:30 a.m. by dispatch telling him there was a truck stuck in the street.
“We had some wash- outs, but it wasn’t all that horrible,”âï¿½ï¿½Morrison said. “We have so many two-wheeled visitors, we figured we better do as much cleanup as we possibly could.”
City crews used front-end loaders to move the hail, piling up five-foot high drifts that made a scene more fit for December than August.
Morrison said arriving downtown and seeing the hail-caused flood was an eye opener.
“It was pretty impressive,”âï¿½ï¿½he said.
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