Above average temperatures expected for June and much of summer

Published: Jun. 1, 2021 at 7:40 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - June 1 marks the start of meteorological summer. This occurs for easier record keeping between seasons since the solstice and equinox vary by a day or two each year. We had a very fortunate end of May, where ample moisture fell across western South Dakota. This helped reduce drought conditions for nearly everyone in western South Dakota, but the forecast does not look too promising going into the summer months for continued improvement.

Average temperatures continue to rise through the summer months, peaking in early August, before making the downward trend into the fall. We average a little more than 7.5″ of moisture during the summer months, all of it as rain. Temperatures are wasting no time heating up as we have some big time heat moving in by the end of this week. Highs will reach the 90s for the first time this year on Friday, with a forecast high of 93°. We don’t typically see our first 90°+ day until about June 12. So, we are going to see our first 90°+ of the season a little more than a week early, which has been pretty normal over the past 10 years.

June temperatures
June temperatures(KEVN/KOTA)

While the beginning of June looks to be a toasty start, the rest of the month looks to be above normal for western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming as well. This will likely feature plenty of day sin the 80s with a decent potential for some 90s to continue. The coolest air for the month is favored to be down in the southern states along the western gulf coast.

June moisture
June moisture(KEVN/KOTA)

We’re favored to have a drier than average June as well. You can see how the warm air correlates with the lack of moisture, and how the cooler than average temperatures in the south relate to the above normal moisture. This is something we will be watching closely due to the fact that the sunshine and higher temperatures will help dry fuels out through the month and potentially worsening the drought monitor and increasing fire danger for many of us this summer.

drought monitor
drought monitor(KEVN/KOTA)

This is what the drought monitor looks like as we begin the month of June. A new outlook is released weekly, every Thursday. You can see how the severe drought and extreme drought have receded a bit to the north. The central and southern hills, along with Sheridan and the northern Big Horns, have been fully removed from any drought category. As we dry out and warm up over the summer months we will likely see these locations return to a drought.

summer temps
summer temps(KEVN/KOTA)

June, July and August are favored to stay above average for us here in the northern plains. As seen from the first graphic, summer temperatures are mainly in the 80s on average, therefore, warmer temperatures would likely mean a fair amount of 90s and if we stay pretty dry, I wouldn’t be surprised to see triple digits at times this summer, though we usually see a few each year on average.

summer moisture
summer moisture(KEVN/KOTA)

As for moisture during the next three months, it is favored to be below average. As mentioned above, this is not ideal when considering the drought conditions and fire danger. Our main fire season doesn’t go into full swing until August and the early fall months. We will monitor the temperatures, moisture, drought monitor and fire danger over the next few months and see how things end up. We will provide more blog updates and give you the latest information on social media and on air as we get the latest.

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