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Fall Climate Outlook for South Dakota
By: Laura Edwards, State Climatologist - 09/12/2018

September begins a change of the seasons to cooler weather. In recent weeks, South Dakota has already had some cooler weather through Dakotafest and State Fair season.

The climate outlook for September was released last week by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. This update now slightly favors warmer than average temperatures across the eastern and southern regions of the state. This is change from a couple of weeks ago, where equal chances of warmer or cooler than average temperatures stretched across the north central states.

Along with warmer temperatures in September, wetter than average conditions are also favored for the same area. Confidence has increased in the last couple of weeks towards an active weather pattern from New Mexico to the Great Lakes. This active weather pattern is mostly likely to bring precipitation in the first couple of weeks of the month.

This outlook for more rainfall than average could slow down harvest activity this fall in the southeast, as this area has already suffered through a very wet growing season. Many long term climate stations in the southeast have measured around two times the seasonal average for precipitation this summer (June through August). Dry down of grain in the field could be slow without an extended warm and dry period.

With warm and moist conditions projected for the next few weeks, plant diseases could also be a concern. Some corn ear rots and molds in row crops could develop or continue in the southeastern region.

For growers who plant cover crops or winter wheat in the fall in southern counties, this outlook may provide some good news. Current conditions and the outlook indicate sufficient moisture for germination this fall. The drought/dryness in west central and north central may be a challenge for fall planted crops this year.

For the remainder of the fall season through November, warmer than average temperatures are favored to continue. The long term outlook shows 70% chance of El Nino conditions this winter, which has often meant warmer than average temperatures in our part of the country. It appears likely that our first fall frost will likely occur near the average date or later for most of South Dakota.

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