A Spring Like Weekend in the Month of December
by Angela Schilling, Meteorologist
December 10, 2011 8:37 PM
In the month of December, to some above freezing is warm, but to get into the 40’s let alone the 50’s this time of year is quite uncommon in the Northern Plains. We didn’t break any records, but we were certainly several degrees above average for the month of December. The warm up is not over yet, which means we don’t only get spoiled once but twice this weekend.
Highs on Saturday were a good twenty degrees above average for the majority of the region, with the exception of northwestern Iowa, where there is still snow on the ground. Sioux Falls made it up to 48 degrees today, while Chamberlain tops the list at 56. What’s interesting is Sioux City, IA and Spencer, IA only reached the 20’s on Saturday. Do the math and it’s a good twenty-degree difference from say Sioux Falls to Spencer, despite the fact both places saw the sun on Saturday.
You can thank the southerly wind for the mild conditions…and not to mention they’ll stick around for your Sunday too. Which means temperatures on Sunday will be well above freezing. What also helped temperatures rise was the amount of mixing in place. High wind speeds, lots of sunshine, and very dry air will all help temperatures rise throughout the day.
The record high for Sioux Falls on December 10th was set back in 1990 with a temperature of 54 degrees, we made it up to 48 this time around. Keep in mind it could be much worse; the record low for December 10th in Sioux Falls is 22 below. Thankfully overnight lows will be in the upper teens and lower 20’s heading into Sunday morning. 69 degrees, the all time December record high for Aberdeen was set back in 1939…sigh...wouldn’t that be nice! In 1979 Aberdeen set a daily maximum of 58 degrees, today we made it up to 44. Even though we didn’t really break any records on Saturday, I think we’ll take the warm up nonetheless.
The warming trend will continue into Sunday as well, with the warm air moving east, all out ahead of a cold front, which could bring some pockets of freezing drizzle to the southeast come late Sunday night into Monday morning. The majority of your Sunday should remain dry though with lots of sunshine, and highs well above freezing. The image below shows the temperature forecast, based off of the GFS model for both today and Sunday. Notice how the warm air moves eastbound over the next 24 hours.
Sfc temperatures for Saturday afternoon (GFS model)
Sfc temperatures for Sunday afternoon...(GFS model)