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After an Extremely Warm Holiday Season, Winter Set to Return

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I certainly don’t have to tell you that this winter has been an unusual one; from extremely warm temperatures to very little precipitation it is pretty much the opposite of what we see in South Dakota during the winter.  So it will likely be no surprise to you that we set even more records the last couple of weeks.  The months of October, November, and December were some of the warmest consecutive winter months that the area has ever seen.  It was the 3rd warmest in the history of Sioux Falls which came just eight tenths of a degree shy of tying the warmest last 3 months of the year on record; a pretty astonishing feat.  Even more incredible is that the last week of 2011 and the first week of 2012 was the warmest ever seen in the history of South Dakota.  Not only did many cities break temperature records, but completely obliterated them.  Below is an article issued by the National Weather Services in Sioux Falls that sums up this not so winter like stretch of weather. 

Since October 1st, 2011 through January 7, 2012 many of the local sites have been in the top 5 for high temperatures.

The last two weeks in particular have been unusually warm with high temperatures the warmest in recorded history for the last week of December and the first week of January, besting previous records by over two degrees in many locations!

But the warm stretch of weather looks like will be coming to an end very shortly as Arctic air will get dislodged from the north pole and funnel southward into the U.S.  Just compare the 850mb temperatures (5000 feet above the surface) from Tuesday evening to Wednesday evening.

Notice in the first image, which is Tuesday, temperatures are quite warm for this time of the year with the green representing temperatures near 40 degrees.  But the second image is for Wednesday and notice the incredible shot of colder air with pinks, purples, and reds making it into the U.S. representing temperatures that are at or below zero. Yikes!!

Even though temperatures will be falling back to more normal levels and there could be a little bit of snow that comes along with it, still no big snow storms in the near future.  Enjoy the last couple of days of incredible warm temperatures!!

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