Leap Day Snowfall Breaks Century Old Record

It’s something we only get every four years, but Monday’s Leap Day brought us an even rarer occasion as many spots across the area broke Leap Day snowfall records. While it falls during the month of February, there have only been four occasions (out of the 31) that Sioux Falls saw a measurable amount of snow on Leap Day (1896, 1936, 2012, 2016) and that is including this year.

Monday’s snow started West River during the morning hours and rode the I-90 corridor east, hitting places of southeast South Dakota right at rush hour. That snow created havoc for many on their commute home to work leading to bumper to bumper traffic across the city of Sioux Falls and even a few crashes along I-29 creating some traffic for those heading to the south.

Not only did we see some heavy snow, we also broke some Leap Day snow records. Places like Brookings, Worthington, Mitchell, Sioux Falls and even Yankton broke their daily snowfall record for February 29th. The record in Sioux Falls was previously set in 1896, 120 years ago! The ironic part of all of this, is that on Saturday many places across the area had highs in the 60s and 70s!

The total of 4.8” at the Sioux Falls Airport brings the seasonal total up to 56.6”, which is tied for 16th all-time for snowiest seasons all time! A reminder that March is generally the snowiest month with an average snowfall of 8.4”, so we may not be out of the woods yet!

The good news is that the forecast is looking much warmer over the next 6 to 14 days, so the new snowfall should last too long! Temperatures, starting this weekend, are expected to be well above normal and should last through most of next week!

Here’s a list of some other snow totals that we received from the National Weather Service forecasting offices across the area. Don’t see your town? Send us a report with a location and photo!

8.0” – Hayes
6.5” – Presho
6.0” – Montrose
6.0” – Pukwana
5.9” – Chamberlain
5.5” – Reliance
5.2” – Mitchell Airport (RECORD)
5.0” – Marion
5.0” – Winfred
5.0” – Edgerton, MN
5.0” – Luverne, MN
4.9” – Sioux Falls; 26th & Sycamore
4.8” – Gann Valley
4.8” – Sioux Falls Airport (RECORD)
4.7” – Howard
4.7” – Volga
4.6” – Madison near Lake Herman
4.6” – Sioux Falls; Rosa Parks Elementary
4.5” – Pierre
4.5” – Wall Lake
4.4” – Chester
4.4” – Sioux Falls; 26th & Valley View
4.2” – Brookings (RECORD)
4.0” – Baltic
4.0” – Bridgewater
4.0” – Dimock
4.0” – Wessington Springs
4.0” – White Lake
4.0” – Woonsocket
4.0” – Pipestone, MN
3.8” – Aurora
3.8” – Highmore
3.5” – Fort Pierre
3.5” – Huron
3.5” – Ree Heights
3.2” – Crooks
3.2” – Sibley ,IA
3.2” – Lakefield, MN
3.2” – Windom, MN
3.0” – Bryant
3.0” – White
3.0” – Lake Wilson, MN
3.0” – Marshall, MN
3.0” – Worthington, MN (RECORD)
2.8” – Gettysburg
2.8” – Murdo
2.8” – Rock Rapids, IA
2.7” – Sioux Falls; 57th & Marion
2.7” – Vilas
2.6” – Minneota, MN
2.5” – Bruce
2.5” – Oakton
2.4” – Hatyi
2.3” – Sheldon, IA
2.2” – Fairview
2.2” – Hudson
2.1” – Clear Lake
2.0” – Worthing
2.0” – Hospers, IA
2.0” – Rock Valley, IA
1.8” – Currie, MN
1.5” – Dixon
1.5” – Gayville
1.5” – Hurley
1.5” – Vermillion
1.5” – Watertown
1.3” – Salem
1.0” – Le Mars, IA
1.0” – Yankton (RECORD)
0.9” – Cleghorn, IA
0.6” – Orange City, IA
0.5” – Elk Point
0.5” – Tyndall
0.5” – Remsen, IA
0.5” – Storm Lake, IA
0.4” – Pickstown
0.3” – Herrick
0.2” – Aberdeen
0.2” – Burke
0.2” – Dallas
0.1” – Cherokee, IA
0.1” – Sioux Gateway Airport

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-Brandon Spinner
Chief Meteorologist