National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Heavy Rain Continues over Portions of the Pacific Northwest

Heavy rain with local flooding will continue along the Washington and Oregon coasts for the next few days. Snow will impact the higher elevations of the Cascades to the northern Rockies. Strong winds will develop in the Sierra and Great Basin. Meanwhile, heavy rain is possible in parts of Florida while light snow will fall in the Upper Great Lakes and northern New England. Read More >

The ongoing winter of 2013-2014 will go down as one of the coldest December through February periods on record across central and northeast South Dakota as well as west central Minnesota.  Countless clipper systems moving across the region brought periods of snowfall, Arctic air, strong winds along with bitter cold wind chills and blowing snow.  Despite the lack of snowfall, the strong winds and Arctic cold resulted in several blizzard and high wind warnings along with many wind chill advisories and warnings.  The meteorological winter is the period from December 1st through February 28th even though winter conditions in our region can begin much earlier and last much longer.

The snow cover or lack thereof for this winter had much to do with how the final average temperature rankings.  At this time in the winter season, the snowfall is actually below normal for most locations.  The snowfall up through February 28th across the region actually shows Pierre and Mobridge receiving more snowfall than the locations across the east.   In the east, the snowfall amounts ranged from 17.4 inches at Watertown to 24.4 inches at Aberdeen.  In central South Dakota, the snowfall amounts ranged from 24.9 inches at Pierre to 31.4 inches at Mobridge.  Despite having more snow than locations in the east, Pierre and Mobridge were able to melt most of it off while the east remained snow covered.  Snow cover allows for better cooling at night and less warming during the daytime.  Therefore, this winter could have been several degrees colder with a deeper and more widespread snowpack across the region.  It is a good thing we did not have to find out how cold it may have been.  With March historically being one of our snowiest months, seasonal snowfall totals could change quite a bit.

The final winter average temperatures in the charts below show that all locations in the east had one of their top ten coldest December through February periods on record.  The years shown in the charts are for the winters ending in that year.  For Aberdeen and Watertown, the records date back to 1893.  Wheaton had an average winter temperature of 6.4 degrees which was 3rd in their all-time rankings dating back to 1914.  Sisseton was 6th in their rankings with 9.4 degrees dating back to 1900.  Watertown had their 7th coldest winter on record with an average temperature of 7.8 degrees.  The December through February average temperature at Aberdeen finished out in 8th place at 7.4 degrees.  Across the western part of the region with the lack of snow cover, Pierre and Mobridge had one of their top twenty coldest winters on record finishing at 18th and 20th, respectively.   The charts also highlight some of recent cold winters of the last 20 years.  Most, if not all, of these winters had much more snowfall as compared to this year.  The winter of 2013-14 pales in comparison to the frigid winter of 1935-36.  The average winter temperatures of 1935-36 were from 5 to 7 degrees colder than the winter of 2013-14. Note:   Wheaton does not show 1935-36 in the charts below due to some missing data during this time.    

Aberdeen, SD:  (1893-2014)

 

Rank

Value

Year

1

2.1

1936

2

4.1

1979

3

5.1

1978

4

5.8

1917

5

6.6

1965, 1910

7

7.2

1956

8

7.4

2014

9

7.5

1950

10

7.7

2001

11

7.8

1997

 Pierre, SD:  (1933-2014)

 

Rank

Value

Year

1

9.8

1936, 1979

3

10.3

1978

4

11.1

1950

5

11.8

1956

6

12.2

1949

7

13.5

1965

8

13.7

1952

9

13.8

2010

11

14.7

1972

12

15.3

1969, 1937

14

15.5

1959

15

15.6

2011, 1971

17

16.1

1997

18

16.2

2014

19

16.3

1993

20

16.4

2001

Wheaton, MN:  (1914-2014)

 

Rank

Value

Year

1

4.7

1917

2

5.6

1979

3

6.4

2014

4

6.9

2009

5

7.0

1982

6

7.1

1918

7

7.5

1994, 1978

9

8.2

1950

10

8.5

2008

Watertown, SD:  (1893-2014)

 

Rank

Value

Year

1

2.5

1936

2

4.6

1979

3

5.2

1978

4

6.0

1917

5

6.8

1904

6

6.9

1918

7

7.8

2014

8

8.5

1997, 1994, 1982, 1965

12

8.8

2011

 Sisseton, SD: (1900-2014)

 

Rank

Value

Year

1

2.8

1936

2

5.2

1979

3

6.8

1978

4

7.3

1904

5

8.6

1982

6

9.4

2014

7

9.6

1994

8

9.9

2011

9

10.0

1965

10

10.2

2009, 2001, 1956

 Mobridge, SD:  (1900-2014)  

Rank

Value

Year

1

4.7

1936

2

6.3

1979

3

6.6

1978, 1950

5

9.4

1956

6

9.8

1949

7

10.6

1912

8

10.7

1965, 1972

10

11.0

2010

11

11.1

1937

12

11.2

1971

13

11.3

1929

14

11.5

1997

15

11.7

1969

16

11.8

1952,1943,1994

19,20

11.9,12.2

1982,2014