Krebs, Fundagelicals Prayed for Rain Wednesday; SD Results Inconclusive

According to UNL’s Drought Monitor, as of July 11, 72% of South Dakota land was in drought, and another 21% was “abnormally dry.”

U.S. Drought Monitor (UNL), drought map for South Dakota, 2017.07.11.
U.S. Drought Monitor (UNL), drought map for South Dakota, 2017.07.11.

Drought Monitor SD conditions 20170711

On Wednesday, July 12, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs used her Facebook page to promote the “Pray for Rain Campaign,” an effort put together by rancher Tim Amdahl, Pastor Scott Craig, John Witherspoon College (enrollment: 40), Family Heritage Alliance, Rapid City Ministerial Association, Watchmen on the Wall South Dakota, and Black Hills National Day of Prayer. They called on South Dakotans to drop everything Wednesday at 7 p.m. and pray to God for rain.

Here are the NOAA maps showing how much precipitation South Dakota got on each of the last seven days, July 8 through July 14:

NOAA’s precipitation data archive shows that July 12 produced the highest average precipitation across all reporting stations in South Dakota for the month of July so far:

Date Average precip, all SD stations
05.01 0.48
05.02 0.04
05.03 0.03
05.04 0.03
05.05 0.00
05.06 0.00
05.07 0.00
05.08 0.02
05.09 0.03
05.10 0.12
05.11 0.04
05.12 0.00
05.13 0.01
05.14 0.04
05.15 0.22
05.16 0.32
05.17 0.25
05.18 0.53
05.19 0.09
05.20 0.18
05.21 0.30
05.22 0.05
05.23 0.10
05.24 0.03
05.25 0.01
05.26 0.01
05.27 0.05
05.28 0.03
05.29 0.04
05.30 0.01
05.31 0.01
06.01 0.00
06.02 0.02
06.03 0.06
06.04 0.00
06.05 0.02
06.06 0.12
06.07 0.03
06.08 0.01
06.09 0.01
06.10 0.01
06.11 0.32
06.12 0.08
06.13 0.74
06.14 0.37
06.15 0.02
06.16 0.00
06.17 0.04
06.18 0.11
06.19 0.04
06.20 0.00
06.21 0.13
06.22 0.22
06.23 0.04
06.24 0.00
06.25 0.00
06.26 0.02
06.27 0.01
06.28 0.26
06.29 0.09
06.30 0.12
07.01 0.01
07.02 0.01
07.03 0.04
07.04 0.03
07.05 0.02
07.06 0.12
07.07 0.01
07.08 0.01
07.09 0.00
07.10 0.01
07.11 0.04
07.12 0.26
07.13 0.06

However, much of the July 12 precipitation at West River reporting stations happened before the 7 p.m. prayer time:

Since May 1, eight other days with no organized “Pray for Rain” activities have had higher statewide station-average precipitation amounts than July 12. (Two of those days were Sundays, May 21 and June 11.)

If we look at cities in the drier drought areas, we find that since prayer time Wednesday, Aberdeen has gotten zero precip. Pierre got a trace on Wednesday and nothing since. Mobridge got 0.03 inches yesterday, below the 0.10 average rainfall for July 14. And Faith—Faith!—got nothing.

I’m not sure how quickly God clears his prayer queue or how his response time compares to Allah, Buddha, Wakan Tanka, or Indra. The forecast says clear and hot over most of the state this weekend, then chance of storms Monday and Tuesday. We’ll check the UNL Drought Monitor again next week for any signs of the righteous wreaking big changes on the drought map.

56 Responses to Krebs, Fundagelicals Prayed for Rain Wednesday; SD Results Inconclusive

  1. Hey, if you think real hard Maybe someone else was thinking real hard and they overruled Krebs and her posse. Maybe God wants it dry like he likes His martini’s. Dog gone it anyway. You can be sure that Can’ttell is just another snake oil sales gal, not serious about her role in securing the needs of South Dakotans, just get elected damn it, for the gold will flow. Next, she will be pandering to gun nuts with her obligatory hunting bio and how she will protect the 2nd Amendment while ignoring those pesky other ones.

  2. What is wrong with a little prayer? Really, from experience, there are no atheists in fox holes!

  3. True that, incoming always has the right of way. But when you do take one, you are asking for mom, that I can guarantee you.

  4. Roger Cornelius

    It immediately occurred to me how non-Natives used to ridicule Natives for doing rain dances or is that different than just praying for rain?

  5. Ouch Roger, you lanced the old prejudice boil. Of course, it never occurred to them that working together, something might be accomplished. The problem with evangelicals is that they only think they have the direct line to their view of God and that no one else has that venue. Very very good catch there sir.

  6. mike from iowa

    Wonder someone doesn’t sue Mother Nature and claim she is violating someone’s sincerely held beliefs that it should rain on demand.

    I can use some rain, too, but I have a cistern to collect rain and snow melt plus a shallow well real close that I can water my garden with. It needs rain. And my cistern is getting lower than I have seen it in over 20 years.

    Pols do not need to entangle themselves in religious activities. It is unseemly and frankly disgusting.

  7. Roger, I think fundamentalists are just against dancing… or is that Baptists? I forget. ;-)

  8. happy camper

    Oh lord in one breath you’re criticizing religion in the next you’re hoping for a savior in jeans and a short sleeve short (sp). Grow up libbies there’s you and the decisions you make.

  9. Donald Pay

    The lesson: God doesn’t appreciate greenhouse gases.

  10. Sol, there’s nothing wrong with a little prayer. I’m just curious as to whether this big publicly advocated prayer had any measurable empirical impact.

  11. Hap, the two issues are entirely unrelated.

  12. Mr. C, if there is a god, it is more entertained by dances than it is by Ms. Krebs’ pandering to the overgodders.

    Ms. Krebs, I am sure you have minions reading the bloggings, so write this down: Stop it.

  13. Mr. H – I find measuring the Lord’s response in empirical numbers to be a futile effort.

  14. bearcreekbat

    Cory, I wonder about the so-called political “tribal” implications – perhaps Krebs and crew believe that publicly exploited association with a vocal SD evangelical or Christian prayer “tribe” might gain more votes than if Krebs publicly branded herself as belonging to more practical (or rational) groups. Emotions are powerful drivers, and religious fervor is one of the strongest emotional triggers.

  15. Mr. Sol, I agree… but then I have to ask what is the real point of praying for rain, if we cannot ever expect empirical to show that such prayers produce more rain?

  16. Porter Lansing

    Matthew 6:6
    But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

  17. You can’t pray vitamins and minerals into your body, nor can you pray for your microclimate area to be spared from the consequences of Global Warming.

    Chantel Krebs absolutely knows better, but to be a candidate for a statewide office in a rural state like SD means you gotta out-Christian your opponent – which inadvertently makes Christ cry a little (about how rural people require the politicization of God in order to think about politics in moral terms).

    As long as we’re doing that, let it be known that Jesus Christ was perhaps the least Conservative form of man to ever walk this Earth.

  18. And that will be the last time I misspell her name. Folks, I suffer in the spelling dept. I struggle with it.

  19. Dang Nab It! When will a real Conservative with Common Sense step up and run as a Republican and denounce the Easter Bunny and Santa and Satan and Tinkerbell too!

    Mr. Nelson, this could be you if you quit pretending to overgod on everybody!

  20. Porter Lansing

    Grudzie … Ask that question over at the Safe Zone blog, where conservatives go to hide from inquiring liberals. LOL

  21. I have, Mr. Lansing.

  22. Porter Lansing

    Here’s a tip, Friend Grudz … When you get to Heaven, go in the blue door. We’re more your kind of folks. 😁

  23. I will be riding one of your goats, and his beard will be on fire, and I will have a bottomless bottle of beer in my right hand and a bottomless bottle of bourbon in my left, and large busted naked women will be chasing me while waving petitions for me to sign. Don’t confuse me with my friend Bob who will arrive around the same time, for he will be wearing a dapper hat.

  24. Porter Lansing

    Now that’s Heaven.

  25. Joe Nelson

    You can consult your resident theologian, but most Christian prayer includes (or should include) a “if it is in Your will” caveat, even if it is unspoken.

    Additionally, the parishioners at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Madison have been praying for rain at every Mass (Saturday and Sunday, not sure about weekdays) since the beginning of June.

    Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from God what you ask him; for he desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to him in prayer. – Evagrius Ponticus

    God wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able to receive what he is prepared to give.– St. Augustine

  26. Should’of just asked for a carbon tax. Giving the government our money always seems to work. . . Ha, ha, ha, ha!!!!

  27. Mr. H could pioneer a new way of prayer. His young spouse could start leading, tomorrow, an entire church who DEMANDS of their god that he do their will. For if they all pray at once and pray the same thing, and their hearts are really in it, their god MUST answer the prayers. Or they get their money back out of the dish.

  28. Porter Lansing

    Bring Mrs. Heidelberger into the conversation in a negative vein is offensive to me.

  29. Donald Pay

    The weather doesn’t respond to prayer or dances, although I would throw in the possibility of dancing affecting the wing flapping of butterflies, which might, due to the butterfly effect, have a small possibility of affecting the weather. I’d still bet there are scientific explanations for this year’s weather patterns. I’d like to hear what is causing the dry weather out there while Wisconsin is getting much more rain than normal this year. In southern Wisconsin many areas are experiencing waterlogged soils that results in flooding with rainfalls over an inch. Rains storms have “trained” across southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, resulting in some 4-7 inch events. Most years we get rain every 3 days or so on average. This year rain has been coming every day or every other day. We’re supposed to get more rain tonight.

  30. Roger Cornelius

    A conservative with common sense is as much fiction as the Easter bunny.

    Donald is right, we should be looking at what is causing the drought and what realistically can be done about it.

  31. Bob Newland

    I prayed for rain. It rained. Not enough. Eff you. Eff me.

  32. I pray for all the Crudnicks of the world, that they one day see the light that is single payer health insurance, so that we can all move forward with God’s true preference for man’s health care system.

    God wants more and more people covered at a continuously lower expense, per person – He will want this for His people until the end of time – which is the opposite of Republican market-based (stroking the psychology of the trust fund baby) insurence ideology.

    Face it, folks, Jesus Christ is shaking His head at GOP lawmakers for their blatant misuse of His name – and their crusade against the least amongst us.

  33. He shakes his head at all fundamentalist religions now. Not only Krebs and the dudes and dudettes, that went all political biblical, but Jews, Muslims and everyone else that follows the strict interpretation of the doctrine of their book. As Mr. grudznick might say, they are all trying to out God one another for political means.

  34. Mr. Jerry is understanding me just right.

    And then…after the primary, the overgodding will go away.
    Imagine that.

  35. Mr. Lansing, if Mrs. H won’t do it, you should get your pastor to do it.
    I might have people take me to church tomorrow after breakfast and just stand up and tell them all the way it is.

  36. While all of you are chasing the pervirbial ball this American was only allowed to speak in a closed Congressional hearing:

    Wonder why. . .

  37. Because he is lying. There ya go, you’re welcome.

  38. Rhonda Schildhauer

    I feel this article is beneath you. A publicly elected official has a right to practice their religious beliefs, or lack of them, the same as any other American. It’s when they try to force those beliefs onto others via bills , laws, and policies it becomes unacceptable. We all would love to see some rain, they were only trying to do what they feel is right. No one was forced into anything. You preach tolerance, decry the lack of it., now walk the walk. If the Native tribes decide to hold a rain dance, as they do sometimes in drought, let’s see your response.

  39. Rhonda, reread my original post carefully. Show me the words I use that “decry” Krebs’s practice of her religious beliefs.

    If our Lakota neighbors hold a rain dance, I will welcome empirical data on subsequent rainfall patterns. It would be fascinating to compare the relative effectiveness of different cultural rainmaking ceremonies.

  40. Ag publisher Katie Pinke writes in the Mitchell paper that she no longer prays for rain:

    Instead of praying for rain, I’m praying for people. I’ve found it to be more purposeful for me to pray for people instead of only focusing on moisture or not.

    …Now that I’m focusing my prayers on the people rather than the need, I pay more attention to their faces and families. I know I can’t control the rain, but I can control how I treat the people who are hurting, how I interact with them and how I lend my support [Katie Pinke, “,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2017.07.15].

    Interesting to see a Christian suggesting to her fellow Christians a more useful direction for their prayers.

  41. Joe: every mass since June? How much prayer does it take to make it rain?

  42. Porter, that’s Reverend Heidelberger to you and Grudz. ;-)

    She does not joke around about church.

    OldSarg, you’re really committed to getting off this topic, aren’t you?

    Donald and Roger are on the ball: instead of wishing for divine intervention, public figures should focus on evidence-based analysis and solution of problems.

  43. Cory, to see you attack religion turned me off. You are safer on a different topic.

  44. Joe Nelson


    How many times would your daughter need to ask you for used car before you gave it to her? (in this hypothetical situation, I imagine that you A. Love her. B. Have the power and means to acquire a used car to give to her.). Not to equate rain and used cars, but more to illustrate that you, as a loving father, will dole out your gifts when you decide it is time to dole them out and when she is ready to accept such a gift (although input from the gift receiver will certainly inform you of their desire for such gifts). I also reckon that you would not take to kindly to her saying “if you loved me, you would get me a used car. If you don’t give it to me when I want, then obviously you don’t love me, and I will never talk to you again!)

    Consider Genesis 2:18-22;

    The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

    Here, you have a man without sin (Adam) with a legitimate need (a companion). Instead of God just creating woman immediately, God first creates and brings before Adam every single creature. It is only after that he creates Eve.

    Some interpret this as God bringing Adam to a proper state of mind and desire before filling Adam’s need. Just as the marital act is (usually) more enjoyable for both parties if it is preceded by a period of wooing, an intimate dinner, engrossing conversation, foreplay. Bringing one’s spouse and oneself to a level of excitement and anticipation makes fulfillment all the sweeter. Indeed, it could be argued that the experience is made all the more enjoyable if one knows that the act is attached to a firm commitment and desire for the person in and of themselves, and not simply a bestial and lustful desire for the act apart from the person. That’s my take on it, but your mileage may vary.

    How much prayer does it take to make rain? Perhaps God will give us rain when we are properly disposed to receive it or when our desire for Him exceeds our desire for the nice things He gives us.

  45. mike from iowa

    Prayer is the worst thing in the world. It makes people jealous. Makes them argue. Makes them make fools of themselves. Makes them hate each other. Makes them break all the commandments they are supposed to live their lives by.

    All it takes is one person and one prayer if atmospheric conditions are right for rain. W/O that, it ain’t gonna happen regardless of who prays for what. When it does rain, everyone wants to take the credit and pretend their own prayer was heard. Then your neighbor calls you a liar and claims his/her prayer did the trick. Pretty soon the whole damn congregation is acting like spoiled brats while those of us unencumbered by piety, false or otherwise, enjoy Sundays watching football and laughing at how many so called kristians are dying to kill their neighbors because of prayer.

  46. Donald Pay

    South Dakota once had a state office dealing with weather modification. It was housed at the School of Mines and Technology. It was one of those deals like the shale study a few years ago. It got federal seed money, but after the feds bailed, the state poured wasted dollars into the boondoggle.

    If I remember this correctly, the folks at SDSM&T would send up airplanes to seed clouds with silver iodide, or some other chemicals. These were supposed to add tiny particulates to clouds to stimulate droplet formation. Most folks thought it was a waste of money, like more recent efforts in the nuclear waste area. Of course the scientists insisted they had data that showed some increased rainfall, but their use of a control in their experimental design was suspect, to say the least.

    At any rate, the airplanes were flying around to seed the clouds building west of Rapid City on June 9, 1972. Of course, after the flood that killed 238 souls cascaded through the Hills, SDSM&T scientists insisted that cloud seeding didn’t work well enough to cause the flood. Needless to say, such research was quickly ended.

  47. Donald Pay

    So, in conclusion and to put a cap on this discussion, history teaches us that prayer doesn’t do anything, which may be better than some other things we could do.

  48. If prayer is going to be used as a tool, then use it as a worthwhile tool to pray leaders understand climate change and what it is doing to the planet, more or less, like Katie Pinke. Maybe God looks at this pray for rain as something selfish that only betters a certain few, like praying for a winning lottery ticket. According the Cory’s drought monitor, there are areas that have average moisture right here in fakey Krebs land. How about that. Do those areas just know how to do it better than Can’ttell and her posse? I dunno, but it sure does smell like pandering to me and that is cult stuff for sure.

  49. OldSarg, a bunch of people prayed for rain. I point out data on subsequent rainfall. Why do you perceive that as an attack on religion? Do I attack religion by posting Katie Pinke’s article, which directly criticizes praying for rain as useless and recommends directing prayers to people instead?

  50. Joe, I’ve already offered her the Beetle for college, and she has refused. Tough cookies for her! :-D

  51. Cloud seeding! Jay Trobec writes that the day before the Rapid City flood, the Institute of Atmospheric Science plane switched from the usual silver iodide to 300–400 pounds of finely ground table salt. Trobec notes that the IAS and Bureau of Reclamation ruled there was no link between the seeding and the rains of June 8–9, and a class action suit against the School of Mines over the cloud seeding never went to trial.

  52. See Dr. Arnett Dennis’s April 2010 article in the Journal of Weather Modification: IAS/Mines sent out two seeding planes on June 8, 1972. One plane dropped 350 pounds of table salt in updrafts below non-precipitating clouds near some showers northwest of Rapid City for several minutes until 3:43 p.m. The second plane seeded clouds southeast of Fairburn during the five o’clock hour. Hard rain fell around Pactola Dam, west of Rapid City, starting in the six o’clock hour.

    On June 13 the director of the IAS, Dr. Richard Schleusener, made a formal report to the office of the governor of South Dakota through Dr. Harvey Fraser,
    the president of Mines, denying allegations that cloud seeding had caused or augmented the flood. Schleusener emphasized that the storms around and below Pactola Dam had not been seeded. He also stated that, “.. it is ridiculous to think that with a few hundred pounds of finely ground table salt disbursed from a single airplane we could cause twelve inches of rain in a few hours.” The governor, Richard Kneip, released a statement in which he quoted some of Schleusener’s language, and asked people to avoid spreading rumors. Long-time critics of cloud seeders immediately denounced Schleusener’s statement as self-serving [Dennis 2010].

    The Fairburn seeding area saw three times as much rain as the first zone seeded NW of Rapid.

    The first case of June 9 dropped about 1500 acre-feet of rain, and the second case dropped about 4500 acre-feet.

    Preliminary estimates of the total rainfall in the Black Hills on June 9 were coming in between 400,000 and 500,000 acre-feet. Therefore the Reclamation scientists concluded that the 6000 acre-feet measured in the two test cases combined did not contribute significantly to the rainfall totals for that day [Dennis 2010].

    At least with cloud-seeding we can locate and measure amounts seeded and subsequent rainfall. With prayer, we can’t even localize the effects: Folks could pray in Rapid City and claim responsibility for showers in Pierre or Aberdeen (if there were any). Negative results can be dismissed by any number of intangible, untestable, irreplicable factors (Shantel isn’t right enough with the Lord; God’s will is otherwise, etc.). Like intelligent designers or cloud-seeding opponents, pray-for-rainers can turn aside any empirical data until one throw of the dice produces a spectacular coincidence that they can cite as proof of their point.

    And when we can’t rigorously test a hypothesis, it is scientifically, rationally useless. It might as well not do anything, as Donald says. That’s not an attack on religion, OldSarg. That’s just a statement of its proper limits.

  53. mike from iowa

    Sait has a tendency to draw moisture out of stuff so whose to say it didn’t draw 12 inches of rain in a few hours that day?

  54. As noted, if the cloud seeding did not produce the epic flood, then why did they stop doing it?

  55. I love this article. I love the tongue-in-cheek comments from the non-believers. I love the totally serious responses from the believers. It’s all quite sad, but I do love it.

    I keep thinking that surely, sooner than later, intelligence will prevail over fear. Yet here we are. Adult men and women walk around and talk about gods and angels and heaven and hell just like they’re talking about grain prices or batting averages. Educated people with biologically healthy bodies and minds close their eyes and talk to their invisible friend, asking for things. Neighbors and strangers ask me more often than I would like to admit, “What church do you go to?” They ask like they aren’t the crazy ones. They ask because they apparently think everyone needs a delusion.

    They dance, and ask for rain. They tithe, and ask for forgiveness for things they aren’t sorry about. They scheme, and ask for special treatment. They dictate, and ask for autonomy. They ignore everything that is difficult to address, and ask for open mindedness.

    Why? Why does a person pray for rain? Why would a person believe one man actually, really, no-fooling, put two of every animal in a boat? Why would a person believe that a timeless, all-seeing, all-knowing god provided a rule book for them to live their lives, but he didn’t account for social norms evolving over a couple millennia, so many parts of the book don’t apply anymore? Why would a person believe the “good” parts of the book are completely true, and then ignore the other parts that make life harder, or that just seem inexplicably un-god-like? I think it’s all just fear – they’re afraid of dying; they’re afraid of the permanence of death; they’re afraid of the unknown; they’re afraid of not being important enough for god or heaven to actually exist.

    Obviously, I have no idea why people would buy into this stuff. I wish more people would call B.S. so we can move on as a species and progress beyond this fear. Instead, people talk themselves into believing in some upcoming salvation so they can bury their heads in the sand a while longer. Life is hard when you have to handle it yourself. It’s easier when you just let somebody else take the reigns – fewer thoughts, fewer decisions, fewer headaches. Phew!

    So keep praying for rain, you silly, scared “adults.” It totally isn’t childish, showy, backward, or pointless. Maybe write a letter to santa and ask him for some rain, too. Couldn’t hurt. Remember, though, santa doesn’t give you something just because you ask, either. He plays hard to get, too.

    While you’re at it, the rest of us who believe in science and weather patterns will just sit here and wait, definitely not thinking you are all incredibly stupid. Definitely not that.