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Spring Begins, But Winter Lingers

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If you didn’t know already, you wouldn’t have found out by stepping outside that Wednesday was the first official day of Spring. We talked about March 1 being the first day of meteorological spring, but March 20 marked the Vernal Equinox. Unfortunately for us in South Dakota, that doesn’t mean a whole lot when temperatures are perfectly capable of dropping below freezing well into April and May.

If you took a look out the window before stepping outside, looks could have been deceiving! There was plenty of sunshine to go around, but temperatures really struggled to warm into the 20s in many locations while other areas almost hit 50 in the southwest. You may wonder how temperatures can vary so much over a small area. Well, when it comes to forecasting temperatures in South Dakota; it’s like putting the pieces of a puzzle together.

In Wednesday’s case, we had to consider several things. First of all, where is there snow still on the ground? This plays a huge role in forecasting temperatures on a sunny day because the snow-covered ground reflects the sun’s rays. A bare ground, on the other hand, absorbs the sun’s rays, producing heat.

On a day like Wednesday, when there are no clouds in the sky to be seen on visible satellite; we can often see very clearly just where snow is on the ground. In the image below, you can see most of the snow along and south of US 14 from Brookings to Huron has melted. In the following images, you’ll find the direction of the wind at a certain point during the day. When the wind is blowing off of a snow pack, like it was throughout much of the day in Sioux Falls and Mitchell; temperatures will struggle to warm very much. On the other hand, places like Pierre and Winner were able to warm quite a bit because the wind was blowing off of dry ground where the sun’s rays were not being reflected back into the atmosphere.

Unfortunately, spring doesn’t look to make an appearance in our 7-Day Forecast—at least not for now. A couple of systems over the weekend will be passing through, bringing us a chance of some more snowfall. Here’s a look at your forecast, and as always; you can catch the most up-to-date information regarding your forecast right here on KDLT and KDLT.com.

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Sioux Falls, SD
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