National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

December 2015 featured above average temperatures, which has become a monthly theme for the year. Though not in record territory, locations ranged from 4-8 degrees above normal for the month. The first half of December was particularly warm, but temperatures became increasingly seasonable as the month wrapped up. It took until mid to late December for low temperatures to first reach at least 0 degrees for many. On the 27th Pierre’s streak was broken, but not before coming within 5 days of reaching their record latest first 0 degrees or colder temperature.

These warm temperatures prevailed despite an active pattern which brought several rounds of moderate to heavy snow across the area, which typically entrenches cold air across the region this time of year. Snowstorms took place on Nov 30-Dec 1st, Dec 15-16th, and then again from Dec 25-26th. Although these events weren’t particularly extreme in terms of cold, wind, or ice, they combined to reach impressive monthly snowfall totals across parts of central South Dakota. Murdo observed their snowiest December on record, while Pierre was 4th and Kennebec tied for 5th. These numbers are unusual considering a strong El Nino is in progress, though El Nino is but one climatic factor that influences our winters.

 

DECEMBER 2015

       

Temperature Data

Aberdeen

Sisseton

Wheaton

Watertown

Warmest Temperature / Date

49 / 10th

55 / 9th

47 / 11th

48 / 10th

Coldest Temperature / Date

-8 / 27th

-7 / 28th

-6 / 28th,29th

-3 / 27th

Average High / Departure from Normal

30.8 / +5.3

31.7 / +5.6

29.4 / +6.5

31.3 / +6.5

Average Low / Departure from Normal

14.3 / +8.4

17.5 / +9.6

17.5 / +11.5

16.6 / +9.4

Monthly Average / Departure from Normal

22.6 / +6.9

24.6 / +7.6

23.4 / +9.0

24.0 / +8.0

Precipitation Data

       

Monthly Precipitation / Departure from Normal

0.64 / +0.12

1.07 / +0.68

1.16 / +0.44

0.32 / -0.21

Monthly Snowfall / Departure from Normal

11.5 / +4.6

11.3 / +3.7

11.3 / +3.1

5.3 / -1.8

Most Precipitation in 24 hours / Date

0.26 / 15th

0.38 / 1st

0.44 / 1st

0.09 / 1st

Most Snow in 24 hours / Date

5.7 / 15th

4.5 / 1st

4.7 / 1st

2.2 / 26th

         

Temperature Data

Pierre

Kennebec

Mobridge

Timber Lake

Warmest Temperature / Date

60 / 9th

63 / 9th

57 / 9th

57 / 9th,10th

Coldest Temperature / Date

0 / 27th ,31st

-5 / 27th ,31st

-5 / 27th

-4 / 27th

Average High / Departure from Normal

32.5 / +1.2

34.2 / +1.5

32.8 / +4.1

29.9 / +0.4

Average Low / Departure from Normal

16.6 / +4.5

15.0 / +3.7

17.1 / +9.4

15.1 / +5.2

Monthly Average / Departure from Normal

24.5 / +2.8

24.6 / +2.6

24.9 / +6.7

22.5 / +2.8

Precipitation Data

       

Monthly Precipitation / Departure from Normal

1.01 / +0.46

1.02 / +0.64

0.33 / -0.11

0.73 / +0.25

Monthly Snowfall / Departure from Normal

15.3 / +10.4

19.0 / +12.4

6.0 / +0.3

7.9 / +0.4

Most Precipitation in 24 hours / Date

0.39 / 15th

0.28 / 13th

0.16 / 15th

0.34 / 16th

Most Snow in 24 hours / Date

4.2 / 15th

6.0 / 26th

3.8 / 15th

3.4 / 16th