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Weekend Cold Spell Brings Back Memories of Last Year

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Overall it has been a relatively mild winter with temperatures well above average, however this weekend has given us a true taste of what winter feels like in South Dakota.  There were a couple days prior to this weekend where cities met their coldest temperatures this winter, but for some this weekend proved to be the coldest morning and afternoon so far. 
Saturday morning our entire viewing area saw overnight lows several degrees below zero, Mobridge and Valentine, Nebraska even dropped down to 14 below, yikes! Sioux Falls was pretty cold too, with a temperature of 5 below.  Thanks to lots of sunshine and a light breeze highs were able to jump a good 40 degrees from this morning, with highs reaching the 20’s.  Compare this to Friday, and it was a much different set up.  Many locations met their high for Friday at midnight with temperatures falling and winds picking up speed throughout the day, allowing wind chills to be anywhere between 20 and 30 degrees below zero.  Saturday though proved to be a little bit more bearable, despite overnight lows.  Winds were much quieter and temperatures rose throughout the day instead of fell.  The jet stream is what drives our weather and is centered in the upper levels of the atmosphere.  On Friday we had a dip in the jet stream, or an upper level low over South Dakota.  You can think of an upper level low as a cold pocket of air.  On Saturday everything moved east, including the upper level low, and as a result many of us were warmer and not as breezy.

Notice where the cold air is? Over the Northern Plains and to the east, with 40's and 50's to the west, where the ridge is.

Now compare this winter to last and it is quite a different story...the images below show the coldest highs and lows for both this winter as well as lasts.

Sunday will be another cold start, but highs will make it close to around 30 degrees, and 40’s are even expected next week…stay tuned to KDLT and KDLT.com for the very latest.
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