South Dakota has a continental climate with four distinct seasons, ranging from very cold, dry winters to hot and semi-humid summers. During the summers, the average high temperature throughout the state is often close to 90 °F (32 °C), although it generally cools down to near 60 °F (15 °C) at night. It is not unusual for South Dakota to have severe hot, dry spells in the summer with the temperature climbing above 100 °F (38 °C) several times every year. Winters are cold with January high temperatures averaging below freezing and low temperatures averaging below 10 °F (- 12 °C) in most of the state.

Average annual precipitation in South Dakota ranges from semi-arid in the northwestern part of the state (around 15 inches, or 381 mm) to semi-humid around the southeast portion of the state (around 25 inches, or 635 mm), although a small area centered around Lead in the Black Hills has the highest precipitation at nearly 30 inches (762 mm) per year.

South Dakota summers bring frequent, sometimes severe, thunderstorms with high winds, thunder, and hail. The eastern part of the state is often considered part of Tornado Alley, and South Dakota experiences an average of 29 tornadoes per year. Winters are somewhat more stable, although severe weather in the form of blizzards and ice storms can occur during the season.

Luciano Mende

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