Butte County declares drought emergency

Butte County declares drought emergency.
BELLE FOURCHE — The Butte County Commission declared Tuesday that current drought conditions have created a natural disaster within the county.
Melissa Smith, a hydrologist with the weather service, said that over the last 60 days, the Belle Fourche and Spearfish areas have gotten approximately three inches less than average amounts of precipitation for this time of year.
As you go north and east into the state, Smith said, the drought conditions worsen substantially.
“The worst part of the state right now is north-central South Dakota and up into North Dakota,” she said.
The lack of consistent precipitation has resulted in the lack of rainwater runoff and caused livestock ponds, dams, and natural water holes to become severely depleted and abnormally low subsoil moisture, resulting in widespread crop losses.
Drought conditions have had a detrimental effect on the production capabilities of the agricultural industry, which, in turn, severely affects the local economy.
According to the most recent scale released Thursday, 83.68 percent of the state is under a D0-D4 rating, up from 46.97 percent at this time, last year.
Most of Butte County is currently under a D0 rating, indicating abnormally dry conditions, with the exception of the southeast corner of Butte County, which is under a D1 rating, designating moderate drought conditions.
Through the rest of June and into early July, the National Weather Service is forecasting persistent above-average temperatures and below average-precipitation.

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