Summer Season Climate Outlook 2017 Back »

Summer Climate Update
Thursday, May 18, 2017

The long-range outlook for the summer climate was released on Thursday, May 18. With the recent rains and transition to cooler temperatures, will this trend last for a while?

The last couple of weeks of May are more likely to stay on the cooler side of average, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. Rainfall is also projected to taper off this weekend, and South Dakota will turn drier again for the rest of the month.

June Forecast

The new climate outlook for June 2017 is uncertain, especially given this cool and dry start. Most climate computer models are showing a transition in June to warmer conditions, especially in the South and East. These same models are also indicating a movement towards a wetter pattern that will carry through July and August. This leaves the month of June leaning neither particularly cool nor warm, and neither wet nor dry. It appears as if sometime mid-June, conditions will turn wetter and warmer for most of us.


Some of us are hardly able to wait for this wetter climate to come along. The North Central region is still half or less of average rainfall in the last two months. All northern counties from Perkins to Roberts are reporting less than 70 percent of average rainfall in the last 60 days, as of May 18. Rainfall totals so far this week struggled to get over an inch in many of these areas. Climatologically speaking, in May and June we average .50 to .75 inches of rain a week for most of the state. Deficits in moisture can grow quickly with just a couple of dry weeks in this wettest part of the year.

Drought Monitor

The U.S Drought Monitor in recent weeks has expanded Abnormally Dry conditions in this area. Impacts of dry and windy conditions can grow rapidly this time of year, and climatologists and SDSU Extension staff will be watching this area closely for worsening conditions. If you notice unusually dry conditions and have any drought impacts to report, these can be submitted on the Drought Impact Reporter website. These reports are posted anonymously and will be accessible to the US Drought Monitor authors as well.

Figure 1. Precipitation outlook for June through August 2017. Green areas are favored to be wetter than average in that 90 day period.
Source: NOAA Climate Prediction Center

Header Photo: L. Plougmann [CC BY-SA 2.0]

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