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SD Residents See Unusual January Weather

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With high temperatures across the state of South Dakota, residents can put their winter gear away for the time being. The extremely high temperatures are impacting everyone: some for the good, and others for the bad.

Residents in Mitchell saw 57 degrees in the first week of January.

"This is certainly atypical weather for South Dakota, and not exactly what I was expecting," said Dusty Rodiek, Park and Recreation Director.

People are outside enjoying the nice winter weather, but that's not the only thing they can look forward to.

"Benefits for the economy include more disposable income.  People aren't paying as much for heating bills and cooling. On the downside, some of the winter sports, snowmobiling, people who do snow removal, have less income. So there's kind of a yin and a yang to this," said Bryan Hisel of the Mitchell Chamber of Commerce.

"I kind of like snow. And especially after Christmas, because I have a plow truck, I like to drive around and push snow and have fun," said Mitchell Resident Brad Jamison.

Another downside is less traffic for some indoor businesses, as residents are staying outside to take in the above average weather.

"We've noticed a slight decrease in the number of people coming inside due to the nice weather," said Rodiek.

City officials said anyone who plans on going ice fishing in Mitchell may want to be careful. A lot of the ice in the lake is already starting to melt away.

"I'm an ice fisherman myself. If you know how to read the ice and take precautions - I've got a floating suit. I've got ice picks. I usually carry some rope with me. And particularly with these types of ice conditions, you certainly don't want to venture out there by yourself," said Rodiek.

While the weather is good for some and bad for others, residents are finding ways to enjoy the warmth when they were expecting it to be a bit colder. Mitchell Parks and Recreation officials said an upside to the weather is that they've saved a lot of money that would have been used for snow removal.
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