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Summer months were 4-inches shy of average moisture and fall could follow suit

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 5:37 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - It’s been a warm start to fall, which comes as no surprise as this summer was the second warmest since 1936 during the dust bowl era.

The summer brought about dry conditions, falling almost four inches of moisture shy of the average. Officials say that the fall months could be following suit with the release of the first fall drought monitor.

Over the course of the summer, Meteorologist David Stradling, says, there weren’t a lot of big changes to the drought monitor through the Hills remaining somewhere between moderate and severe drought.

He says to help the current state of drought he’d hope to see moisture spanning several days, saturating the ground.

He says that although the most critical months for fire danger have passed, he adds that some of the bigger fires over the last few years have come during the fall and winter months.

”Through the fall, as long as there’s no snow on the ground we could still have some pretty big fire danger. If we had a lot of moisture and the grass was green it would take a lot longer to burn,” says Stradling, “because of the moisture content and the fuels, the grasses, the brush and all of that kind of stuff. Being as dead as things are right now it’s easy to ignite. It goes up quickly and it will help spread quickly.”

Stradling also says it tends to be windier around the end of the year, and as we saw with the fire today, that makes for more hazardous fire conditions.

He says that it’s looking as though precipitation in the fall months will be similar to what the summer months saw, being below average.

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