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How Does This Winter Stack Up?

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Wednesday was the half way point of "Meteorological" Winter, so many are asking how does this year stack up compared to the warm and dry winter of 2011-12. The KDLT Weather Blog compares last winter to this winter and gives an update on the upcoming arctic cold blast.
The Winter of 2011-2012 set many records across the state for warm temperatures and lack of snow. In the city of Sioux Falls the winter of '11-'12 tied for the third least amount of snow with a total of 15.9". Although the winter was not a snowy one, the city actually did quite well on precipitation thanks to a rainy last day of winter. The Leap Day Blizzard brought snow to the north but much needed rainfall to the south including Sioux Falls. It also took quite a while for the first one inch or more snowfall which happened on January 17th a full two months after normal.

This winter has been similar to last year as we entered into winter stuck in a deep drought but an early snowfall a few weeks before average got winter off to a good start. So far this winter we are only two inches away from beating last years dismall totals.

The winter of '11-'12 in Aberdeen was the fifth warmest in history and one of the least snowy years on record. With almost half of the average amount of snow falling. So far this winter has been much better, we are halfway through winter and Aberdeen is slightly less than an inch away from beating last years total. Although this year has improved from last on snow fall, there is still a ways to go.

Pierre saw their 11th warmest winter but faired much better on snowfall with less than 6 inches below normal. So far this year Pierre is right on track with almost half of the total snow fall.

Another big difference this winter is the temperatures. With last year setting many record high's this year has been far closer to normal. This week has been a roller coaster with high's on Wednesday peaking in the 40's, more normal temperatures Thursday and a return to 40's on Friday but temperatures are forecasted to drop significantly by the weekend. Two very potent cold fronts will drop south into the region this weekend. The first on Saturday will be slightly weaker but bring with it more wind. The second on Sunday will be more significant and bring snow chances.

Temperatures will likely peak Saturday morning before the cold front drops into the state by afternoon. Temperatures will steadily drop throughout Saturday afternoon. Winds will also be fairly gusty, allowing for wind chill values to drop below zero.

By Saturday night the first push of arctic air will drop temperatures in the north below zero, however by this time winds should let up slightly allowing for wind chills to be slightly warmer.

Evening Wind Chills will likely range from 15 to 20 below zero in the north and 5 to 10 below in the south for the start of Saturday night.

A stronger cold front will drop south Sunday allowing for afternoon high's to struggle out of negative territory in the north and single digits to the south. Snow chances will also be possible Sunday afternoon along the I-29 corridor with around a half inch to an inch possible. Fresh snow cover, clearing skies and calming winds will allow temperatures to drop even more overnight as the arctic high centers itself over the northeast. Actually lows will likely be around 15 to 20 below in the north, even with a light breeze that could drop wind chill values to around 30 to 40 below zero.

Wind Chill Advisories or Warnings will likely be issued for Sunday and Monday meaning that temperatures this cold can become deadly. If you have travel plans this weekend plan accordingly. As always stay with KDLT and KDLT.com for all updates.
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