South Dakota
Top Climate Change Risks: Storm, Heat, Fire

Learn how climate change is affecting people in South Dakota.
Then, check your local risk for heat, storm, fire, drought, and flood through 2050.

Typical Risks for Someone in South Dakota

Compared to people in the United States, people in South Dakota will experience especially increased risks from storm, heat, and fire due to climate change over the next 30 years.

The ClimateCheck Risk Rating is a 1-100 score that measures historical risk and increased exposure to risk with climate change, compared to everywhere in the U.S. (lower 48 states). A rating of 100 means risk is the highest for the U.S., while 1 means the risk is the lowest of anywhere in the U.S. Even with a risk rating of 1, climate change has both localized and large-scale effects that impact everyone on Earth.
See how we measure risk.

For fire, the bar estimates the middle 50% of buildings and middle 50% of land area. For heat, drought, and storm, the bars represent the middle 50% of the population.

Climate Risks for Cities in South Dakota

Of the top cities in South Dakota, the city with the highest overall risk is Sioux Falls. The city with the lowest overall risk is Spearfish.

For heat, Pierre has the lowest risk and Yankton has the highest risk.

For storm, Pierre has the lowest risk and Yankton has the highest risk.

For drought, Yankton has the lowest risk and Spearfish has the highest risk.

For fire, Pierre has the lowest risk and Spearfish has the highest risk.

For flood, Sioux Falls has the lowest risk and Spearfish has the highest risk.

Comparing South Dakota and Other States

Among the lower 48 states, South Dakota's highest ranking is #15 for fire risk.
Utah and Kansas rank highest for fire risk District Of Columbia and Rhode Island rank lowest for fire risk See our fire ranking methodology.

South Dakota ranks #14 for drought risk.
Highest drought risk: Arizona and Wyoming
Lowest drought risk: Mississippi and Illinois


South Dakota ranks #45 for heat risk.
Highest heat risk: Florida and Louisiana
Lowest heat risk: Washington and North Dakota


South Dakota ranks #39 for storm risk.
Highest storm risk: New Hampshire and Vermont
Lowest storm risk: Nevada and New Mexico

Storm Risk in South Dakota with Climate Change

To measure storm risk, we look at the amount of precipitation that falls in storms, and how many times this happens per year. A storm is based on the top 2% of rainiest days per year for a location. Our risk rating is based on the amount of precipitation historically and the relative increase compared to the rest of the United States.

Historically, Yankton experienced an average of 1.5 inches of rain about 9 times per year. In 2050, it is projected to experience an average of 1.8 inches of rain about 18 times per year.

Historically, Pierre experienced an average of 1.2 inches of rain about 9 times per year. In 2050, it is projected to experience an average of 1.5 inches of rain about 16 times per year.

Heat Risk in South Dakota with Climate Change

An extremely hot day in South Dakota depends on your location: 100ºF is extremely hot for Pierre, while 91ºF is considered extremely hot for Brookings. This is based on historical maximum temperatures on the top 2% of days in an average year.

The frequency of very hot days is increasing. On average, someone in South Dakota will experience about 31 extremely hot days in 2050.
A typical person in the U.S. will experience about 43 extremely hot days in 2050.

Fire Risk in South Dakota with Climate Change

Locally, fire risk depends on proximity to vegetation, the types of vegetation and other landcover in the area, and topography. On a given day, fire risk is greatly increased in the presence of a red flag warning, when heat, low humidity, and strong winds converge.

How Can We Adapt to a Changing Climate?



Mitigating climate change—by eliminating our emissions into the atmosphere and reducing our strain on the environment—and adapting to our changing planet are both vital to our well-being.

Understand Risks


Check your address and get a free report describing risks to your property and in your area.

Your level of risk depends on your city's capacity to adapt. Look up information on your city's characteristics and how they relate to preparedness for climate change: ND-GAIN Urban Adaptation Assessment.

Protect Homes and Communities


Check our free report for tips on protecting your home from hazards.

Green infrastructure is a category of nature-based solutions increasing precipitation. Find resources for individuals and municipalities through the EPA's Soak Up the Rain initiative.

Planting trees and vegetation helps reduce extreme heat in urban environments. Cool Pavements can also help urban heat islands. Search the Heat Island Community Actions Database to see what some municipalities have been doing to reduce extreme heat risk.

Read more about building resilience for communities: U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.

Use the Common Cause tool to find your representatives (federal to local), how to contact them, and information about political contributions and bills they have introduced.

Find Balance


Change is necessary–and possible–across the globe and in every part of our society. Learn more with Project Drawdown's introduction to climate solutions.

Estimate your home's carbon footprint with the CoolClimate Calculator. Or, estimate the carbon footprint of your business.