National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Severe Thunderstorms Possible for the Great Lakes into Ohio Valley; Heavy to Excessive Rainfall Over the Southern Plains

Severe thunderstorms will race along a cold front from the Upper Mississippi Valley into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley with the main threat being damaging winds. The tail end of this front will possibly produce heavy to excessive rainfall across the southern Plains into the Lower Mississippi Valley through Saturday. Finally, Major-to-record river flooding continues across the Carolinas. Read More >

January 2018 began exceptionally cold. On the heels of the coldest final 7 days of any December on record, record cold continued into the first couple days of January 2018. On the 1st, Aberdeen recorded a daily record cold high of -9° and low of -32°, Mobridge recorded a daily record cold high of -8° and low of -30° and Pierre recorded a daily record cold high of -9° and low of -22°. Pierre also recorded a daily record cold low of -21° on the 2nd. That said, a January Thaw overtook the area in the middle of the month when upper 40’s and even lower 50’s were common. Sisseton set a daily record high of 51° on the 19th. On a whole for the month, temperatures were about average.

Regarding precipitation, it was another below average month. While a significant snowstorm affected much of southern South Dakota and Minnesota on the 21st and 22nd, the vast majority of the area ranged from 2 to 8 inches of snow below average. This means only 1-2” of snow fell these past 31 days, and in some cases less. Pierre recorded just a trace of snow which sets the record for least amount of snow for January. That said, a few scattered light rain events helped slightly in the overall moisture department thanks to a period of mild temperatures.

 

                                       January 2018

       

Temperature Data

Aberdeen

Sisseton

Wheaton

Watertown

Warmest Temperature / Date

52°/ 19th

51°/ 19th

45°/ 21st  

48°/ 19th  

Coldest Temperature / Date

-32°/ 1st  

-18°/ 1st  

-25°/ 1st

-25°/ 1st    

Average High / Departure from Normal

27.4°/ +4.9°

25.2°/ +2.2°

21.2°/ +1.8°

24.0°/ +1.8°

Average Low / Departure from Normal

3.3°/ +1.8°

6.6°/ +3.3°

3.1°/ +2.5°

3.6°/ +0.5°

Monthly Average / Departure from Normal

15.3°/ +3.3°

15.9°/ +2.8°

12.2°/ +2.2°

13.8°/ +1.1°

Precipitation Data

       

Monthly Precipitation / Departure from Normal

0.04”/-0.43”

 0.10”/-0.33”

0.08”/-0.74”

0.11”/-0.41”

Most Precipitation in 24 hours / Date

0.03”/ 14th    

0.03”/ 8th  

0.05”/ 5th

0.03”/21, 27th    

Monthly Snowfall / Departure from Normal

0.6” / -5.8”

0.5” / -7.9”

0.8” / -8.2”

1.7” / -3.6”

Most Snow in 24 hours / Date

0.4” / 14th  

0.3” / 14th

0.5” / 5th

0.5” / 27th   

         

Temperature Data

Pierre

Kennebec

Mobridge

Timber Lake

Warmest Temperature / Date

49°/ 19th   

48°/ 30th   

47°/ 20th, 19th  

48°/ 30th  

Coldest Temperature / Date

-22°/ 1st   

-35°/ 1st  

-30°/ 1st  

-32°/ 1st  

Average High / Departure from Normal

30.4°/ +0.4°

31.4°/ -0.5°

28.7°/ +2.7°

27.3°/ -0.8°

Average Low / Departure from Normal

8.3°/ -1.5°

9.1°/ -1.0°

5.7°/ -0.4°

6.6°/ -1.2°

Monthly Average / Departure from Normal

19.3°/ -0.6°

20.5°/ -0.5°

17.2°/ +1.2°

17.0°/ -1.0°

Precipitation Data

       

Monthly Precipitation / Departure from Normal

0.08”/ -0.34”

0.22”/-0.17”

0.06”/-0.23”

0.15”/-0.28”

Most Precipitation in 24 hours / Date

0.02”/10,12,30     

0.21”/ 21st   

0.03”/ 10th  

0.14”/ 11th  

Monthly Snowfall / Departure from Normal

Trace / -4.7”

3.2” / -1.6”

1.7” / -3.3”

1.7” / -3.9”

Most Snow in 24 hours / Date

Trace / 10-14th, 27th, 28th   

3.2” / 21st

1.5” / 10th   

1.4” / 11th   

 

 

January average temperature (high and low combined) departures from normal, courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center

 

January total observed snowfall, courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center

 

January snowfall departures from normal, courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center

The lack of snow this January follows suit with the winter season as a whole. Particularly dry has been northeastern South Dakota and west central Minnesota, where 10-20" snow deficits exist. Seasonal totals as of February 1st include 5" at Aberdeen (16" below normal), 10.3" at Mobridge (5.7" below normal), 4.4" at Pierre (11.5" below normal), 8.1" at Watertown (11" below normal), and 4.8" at Sisseton (19.2" below normal). Is this record territory? Some are getting close. In terms of least amount of snow on record up to this point in the season (February 1st), Aberdeen ranks 8th (4.2" in 1898), Sisseton ranks tied 8th (0.4" in 1942), and Pierre ranks 7th (0.8" in 1983).

Looking ahead to February, indications are that the pattern may not change a whole lot. Generally above average temperatures and below average precipitation may persist, which would contribute further to the snow drought. Additionally, historically, seasons that began exceptionally slowly snow-wise also finished much below average. That said, it only takes one or two major winter storms to regain normalcy across the area, and with two plus months yet to go there's plenty of potential.

 

 

Seasonal snowfall totals across the United States, from the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center. Notice how the Northern Plains on a whole has generally seen its fair share of snow, northern South Dakota and west central Minnesota has simply missed out on opportunities.

 

A closer look at seasonal snowfall totals across the area, courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center

 

Seasonal snowfall departures across the area, courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center

 

 

For an even wider look at the winter season so far, we look to the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index (AWSSI). It compares a combination of temperature and snow data from the current season to the historical database, and assigns severity categories for select locations. The goal is to provide perspective. As you can see below, this winter has been of "Moderate" severity thus far across the area. 

 

Here's a more in depth look at Aberdeen and Pierre. As you can see, both locations are on the verge of a "Mild" winter.