Rapid City: Geography and Climate
Rapid City, the natural eastern gateway to the great growing empire known as the West River Region, is surrounded by contrasting land forms. The forested Black Hills rise immediately west of the city, while the other three edges of the city look out on the prairie. Protected by the 6,000- to 7,000-foot peaks of the Black Hills, Rapid City enjoys an enviable climate, free of the icy blizzards and scorching summers typical of much of the rest of the Dakotas. Summers are warm but dry and autumn is noted for its delightful "Indian summer" weather. Mild, sunny days are common throughout the winter and occasional "chinook" or warm winds frequently follow a stint of snowy weather. Snowfall is normally light with the greatest monthly average less than eight inches. Spring is characterized by wide variations in temperature and occasionally some wet snowfall. Low humidity levels, infrequent precipitation, and northwesterly winds prevail in the city.
Area: 45 square miles (2000)
Elevation: 3,200 feet above sea level
Average Temperatures: January, 21.9° F; July, 72.6° F; annual average, 46.6° F
Average Annual Precipitation: 16.7 inches of rain; 39.1 inches of snow
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