Take a good look at the pictures.  Think about a farmer getting ready to plant a crop.  Not very long ago, things were looking pretty bleak.  So if you consider the (ahem) abnormal weather patterns this April, the soil moisture levels are improving across South Dakota and for much of the Central Plains.

The yellow area is technically a signal of dryness, but for all intents and purposes, northeastern South Dakota is sitting pretty good in soil moisture.  According to the Climatologist for the State of South Dakota Dr. Dennis Todey the ground is unfrozen and the recent Spring snows will have a greater potential to be absorbed into the ground.  Winter snows generally end up running off into the river system.

Compare the numbers of today with the images of the end of March.  There was a significant chunk in central and southeast South Dakota was still in the highest (darkest red) category of drought.

(Courtesy of USDA)

Then look even farther back into January where the exceptional drought area was more widespread.

(Courtesy USDA)

Todey says the most recent map (April 16) is the first one since August of 2012 where there was no D4 category of drought in the State.  However there are still some portions of Nebraska that are suffering from a lack of moisture.  Plus most likely next week’s map will look even better.  As the growing season arrives, this will be a trend worth watching for if agriculture goes south, so does the rest of South Dakota.