National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Winter 2014 – 2015 Climate Review

(December – February)

Fall ended with bitter cold temperatures gripping the region with average temperatures in November from 6 to 8 degrees below normal. As a result, most locations finished out the month with one of their top ten coldest Novembers on record.  This left many people thinking winter would be colder than normal.  Turns out, the average temperatures for this winter were from one to three degrees above normal, thanks to a warm December and January.   Average monthly temperatures in December were anywhere from 2 to 7 degrees above normal.  The low temperature departures in December were impressive across the region being up to 8 to 9 degrees above normal across the east thanks to low clouds and fog.  In fact, Watertown showed some fog from December 7th through the 28th.  January started out very cold across the region with daily temperature departures of up to 20 to 25 degrees below normal from the 2nd through the 13th.  Temperatures then warmed up to much above normal in the middle of the month and stayed that way through nearly the end of the month.  From January 14th through January 30th, daily temperature departures were up to 20 to 25 degrees above normal. Cold air returned in February with below to much below normal temperatures across the region. The average temperatures were from 2 to as much as 9 degrees below normal.  For comparison, last winter was in the top ten coldest on record for Watertown and Aberdeen and in the top 20 coldest for Pierre.  The average temperatures were from 7 to 10 degrees colder in 2013-2014 compared to this winter. Also, the charts below show that Aberdeen and Watertown had nearly 60 days with below zero temperatures during the 2013-14 winter.

For snowfall and precipitation for our area, winter usually occurs from November to March but can overlap into October and April.  Thus, the numbers below for precipitation and snowfall for this winter can still increase as we go through March and even April. Precipitation amounts across central and northeast South Dakota were from 1 to 2 inches below normal from October 2014 through February 2015.  There have only been a few significant snow storms this winter thus far, leaving snowfall amounts from near average to up to 10 inches below normal for the season. 

Aberdeen

 

Avg
High

Avg
Low

Avg
Temp

Precip

Snowfall

# Days
Lows
< 0

#Days
Highs
> 32

#Days
Highs
50+

2014-15

27.3

8.0

17.7

2.20

18.5

28

33

1

Normal

25.3

4.9

15.1

4.26

27.8

30

32

3

Difference

+2.0

+3.1

+2.6

-2.06

-9.3

-2

+1

-2

The Past Five Years

2009-10

18.7

1.6

10.2

11.62

37.8

36

5

0

2010-11

19.2

0.4

9.8

9.30

79.3

43

14

0

2011-12

35.0

11.4

23.2

6.76

17.5

17

56

6

2012-13

25.0

4.1

14.5

6.39

62.8

30

21

3

2013-14

19.3

-4.6

7.3

8.95

32.7

58

27

0

Click on graph for larger image.

 

Pierre

 

Avg
High

Avg
Low

Avg
Temp

Precip

Snowfall

#Days
Lows
< 0

#Days
Highs
> 32

#Days
Highs
50+

 2014-15

33.9

11.3

22.6

2.62

22.3

21

49

13

Normal

32.1

11.9

22.0

3.97

21.8

17

48

10

Difference

+1.8

-0.6

+0.6

-1.35

0.5

+4

+1

+3

The Past Five Years

2009-10

21.3

6.2

13.8

12.44

41.9

26

11

0

2010-11

25.0

6.2

15.6

9.82

32.1

26

25

4

2011-12

38.3

15.5

26.9

5.52

24.5

8

66

12

2012-13

31.2

13.0

22.1

7.54

55.5

12

39

4

2013-14

26.9

5.4

16.1

7.81

34.6

34

39

4

 

 

 

Watertown

 

Avg
High

Avg
Low

Avg
Temp

Precip

Snowfall

#Days
Lows
< 0

#Days
Highs
> 32

#Days
Highs
50+

2014-15

25.0

8.4

16.7

2.62

20.9

29

29

0

Normal

24.8

6.0

15.4

4.29

26.4

29

30

2

Difference

+0.2

+2.4

+1.3

-1.67

-5.5

+0

-1

-2

The Past Five Years

2009-10

18.3

2.2

10.2

3.59

58.5

36

7

0

2010-11

17.9

-0.2

8.9

5.61

79.4

44

11

0

2011-12

32.5

12.8

22.6

1.40

19.6

13

49

3

2012-13

23.9

5.8

14.9

2.15

47.1

27

19

3

2013-14

18.5

-3.0

7.7

1.04

28.2

57

22

0