The weather in the Black Hills is very hard to predict. But the four distinct seasons we enjoy in the great outdoors are some of the best reasons for living here in the Black Hills of South Dakota. And some of the best reasons for taking your vacation here — any time of the year!
Late spring is western South Dakota’s rainy season, when the area receives over a third of its annual moisture. Precipitation in May comes mostly in short rain showers. By June, afternoon thunderstorms are a common occurrence. These short storms form over the Black Hills almost every afternoon and move onto the Plains during the evening. Rapid City sees an average of 20 clear to partly cloudy days and 75 percent of its possible sunshine in June. However, the last couple years have been very dry.
Daytime highs during the month of May average in the 50s and 60s, and 60s and 70s during June. Overnight temperatures are still chilly, especially in Black Hills communities, where May minimums are in the 30s and 40s. Lows are typically in the 40s and 50s during June.
Mid-summer around the Black Hills is warm and dry with plenty of sunshine. July and August are the warmest months of the year, when daytime temperatures climb into the 70s and 80s — and sometimes 90s. Humidity levels are low, and there is usually a breeze during the day, so even the hottest days are still comfortable. Early mornings are cool, so a jacket or sweater may be needed for outdoor activities. At night temps drop into the 50s, although 40s, and even 30s can occur at higher elevations.
Sunny, mild days and cool nights are typical during the autumn months of September and October. Temperatures begin to fall around Labor Day, with highs averaging in the 60s and 70s during September and 50s and 60s in October. Lows drop from the 30s and 40s to the 20s and 30s.
The average first freeze in Rapid City is October 4 and late August through September in the Black Hills.
The first significant snowfall of the season is usually in October, although higher elevations sometimes receive snow as early as September. Occasional cold fronts moving through the area can bring blustery northwest winds.
Average snowfall in the Black Hills is over 200 inches annually, mostly occurring at elevations above 5,000 feet and typically between the months of November and April.
Visit the National Weather Service for more up to date weather information.