Precipitation below average for year
Published: Thursday, January 10th, 2013
Custer County didn’t receive its usual amount of precipitation for a year in 2012, following a state, regional and somewhat nationwide trend of drought that weather officials said began around March of 2012. The drought led to a loss of crops, lakes, streams and concern about the lack of waters in aquifers.
“I would say it started about early last spring,” said Susan Sanders, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Rapid City. “It is affecting the entire state. The whole state has had below normal precipitation and is considered in drought.”
The Weather Service’s drought monitor shows that the entire state is in at least a severe drought, except for most northeastern part of the state, which is considered to be in a moderate drought. The worst hit area in the state is in the south central portion, which is in an exceptional drought. Around two-thirds of the southern part of the state are in exceptional drought.
For the year, the official weather station at the U.S. Forest Service supervisor’s office at the north end of Custer registered 15.46 inches of precipitation, 79 percent of the normal precipitation for the year, which is 19.65. At the Custer County Airport, 12.67 inches were received, 67 percent of the normal 18.95.
In Hermosa, 11.79 inches of precipitation were received over the course of 2012, 72 percent of normal, while Wind Cave National Park received 13.76 inches, 70 percent of its normal for a year.
“The Hills weren’t quite as dry as other places,” Sanders said. “There were places that were down to 50 percent of normal—mostly on the Plains.”
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