PIERRE - Officials say snow and rain in the past month have improved drought conditions in much of South Dakota, but soil deep below the surface is still very dry.

State Climatologist Dennis Todey says a two-week dry spell would create conditions that are tough, but not as bad as last year.

Todey and other officials spoke Monday to the state Drought Task Force, which meets periodically to consider conditions and any needed response.

The U.S. Drought Monitor issued last week indicated that all of South Dakota is at least abnormally dry. About two-thirds of the state is rated in severe or extreme drought, but none of South Dakota is in the highest category of exceptional drought.

Farmers and ranchers agree the snow has helped, at least in the short term.

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