– Share of state experiencing drought conditions (20-year average): 35,071 sq. mi. (45.5% of land area); 325,158 people (40.7% of population)
— Moderate drought: 20,043 sq. mi. (26.0% of land area); 174,834 people (21.9% of population)
— Severe drought: 10,124 sq. mi. (13.1% of land area); 84,710 people (10.6% of population)
— Extreme drought: 3,609 sq. mi. (4.7% of land area); 33,679 people (4.2% of population)
— Exceptional drought: 728 sq. mi. (0.9% of land area); 6,807 people (0.9% of population)
South Dakota was mired in drought for nearly all of the 2010s, with severe, extreme, and even exceptional drought dominating much of the decade. That was followed by a massive spike in droughts in the early 2010s—at its peak in 2012, nearly one-third of South Dakota was suffering exceptional drought. It was so dry for so long, in fact, that despite record-breaking precipitation through 2020, 100% of the state is currently abnormally dry, and significant portions are in moderate or severe drought.