National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Severe Weather Threat in the North-central Great Plains

Strong to severe storms are expected to bring severe wind gusts and large hail across parts of South Dakota and Nebraska. Additional thunderstorm activity likely Sunday from the Northern Plains into the Upper Great Lakes. A fire weather threat continues from portions of the Great Basin into the Rockies. Read More >

Although Leap Day is not an official holiday, it is an interesting event--and a climate conundrum: How do you compare February data when some months have an extra day?  And because official meteorological winter is December through February, Leap Day is the last day of winter, which means Leap Years have an extra day of winter!

The following table shows the climate information for Rapid City, Lead, Gillette, Winner, and Lemmon on Leap Day. Average highs around the area on February 29 are in the upper 30s and lower 40s, with average lows in the teens to lower 20s. A wide range of temperatures has occurred on Leap Day, with record highs reaching the mid 60s to mid 70s, but record lows are still 5 to 15 degrees below zero.  February 29, 1992 was the warmest Leap Day at all the sites, while the coldest temperatures occurred in 1996, 1960, and 1912.

2004 set several daily precipitation and snowfall records. Snow was over a yard deep in Lead on February 29, 1964, but record snow depths from 1936 still stand in Winner and Lemmon.

Temperature (F)

Rapid City

Lead

Gillette

Winner

Lemmon

Highest

74 in 1992

64 in 1992

64 in 1992

75 in 1992

70 in 1992

Lowest

-10 in 1960

-5 in 1996

-13 in 1960

-5 in 1996

-12 in 1912

Average High

42

39

42

42

37

Average Low

21

20

19

18

16

Precipitation (in.)

Rapid City

Lead

Gillette

Winner

Lemmon

Max Precip.

0.64 in 2004

0.90 in 2004

0.50 in 1916

0.25 in 2004

0.40 in 2012

Days Measured Precip.

11 times or 34%

11 times or 42%

7 times or 27%

3 times or 13%

5 times or 20%

Max Snowfall

10.2 in 2004

7.3 in 2004

5.0 in 1916

2.0 in 1980

6.0 in 2012

Days Measured Snow

12 times or 38%

11 times or 42%

5 times or 19%

2 times or 9%

4 times or 16%

Max Snow Depth

11 in 2004

37 in 1964

5 in 2012

16 in 1936

10 in 1936

Year Records Began

1888*

1909

1902

1910

1909


* Data for Rapid City was compiled from the office’s three locations: The original downtown Weather Bureau Office (WBO) from 1888-1942; the airport offices--first located where Ellsworth Air Force Base is now and the current Rapid City Regional Airport starting in 1942, and East Rapid City in 1996.