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Recaping the Two-faced Month of August

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It’s hard to believe that we have already completed 8 months of 2013 which amounts to 243 days already! Just like the first 7 months, August provided us with plenty to talk about when it came to weather.

After 5 straight months of a below normal monthly average temperature, August finished as the first month above normal since January of this year (February finished exactly normal). However, August was a two faced month when it came to weather. All things looked to follow the trend of below normal cold as we only saw 2 above normal days out of the first 18 to start August in Sioux Falls. After the previous 5 months had finished with an average temperature below normal, August started the month with an average temperature of 5.22° below normal for the first 18 days. However, that’s where things took a huge turn. 

After a week with temperatures 10-15 degrees below normal, all capped off by the months coldest high temperature of 66°F on August 15th, a nasty heat wave encompassed the entire region. High temperatures reached the 100’s for some areas in the central parts of the state, and hit the 90s 5 times in Sioux Falls over a 10 day stretch where the high temperature average was 88.3°. This heat wave lasted for close to two weeks and result with August ending with 13 days of temperatures at or above (12 days) the average temperature. The months warmest temperature of 93°F which was recorded on August 27th, is currently the 2nd hottest day for those in Sioux Falls during 2013. Below is a graph showing the drastic chance we experienced from the first two weeks of the year, to the last two weeks of the year.

While most saw the heat, areas of northeastern Nebraska picked up a good amount of rain. Yankton was the big winner when it comes to the rain, they picked up 5.34” during the month. Sioux Falls finished the month with 3.23” of rain which is 0.18” above the normal for August. That is good news after only recording 0.60” in July. While those to the southeast were blessed with a lot of rain, the northeast saw minimal rainfall and it unfortunately has led to regressing back into a drought. Watertown, Sisseton, and Aberdeen finished with less than an inch of rain, with Aberdeen picking up the least at 0.34” on the entire month, a whole 2.09” below normal! Below is a map showing the monthly rain totals across the region.

When it comes to the drought, we took a couple strides backward. After a very dry month of July, August did bring back some more rainfall, but as I mentioned above, the northeast didn’t fair to well, especially our Friends in Minnesota. Minnesota started the month with 82% of the state not in any state of drought. However, they finished with only 20% of the state not in a drought and regressed from 1.7% off a moderate drought on August 1st and finished with over half of the state in a moderate drought (53.26%). Iowa got hit evern worse, going from 0% of a Moderate drought on August 1st to 63.24% to end it. The big heartbreak is that now 32% of the state in in Severe drought after starting the month with 0%. South Dakota and Nebraska faired a bit better in those categories and improved slightly in both or stayed close to even.
Below is a look at those changes.

Now shifting gears into September. September 1st marks the start to Meteorological Fall which lasts until November 30th. September is also the 3rd fastest cooling month on average. The average high temperature in Sioux Falls starts at 79°F on the 1st and by the 30th it has already fallen to 67°F. Low temperatures average 56°F on the first and is down to 42°F on the 30th. September also features the start to Astronomical Autumn which begins Sunday, September 22nd. This is also known as the Autumn Equinox.  Something you may not want to hear is that September has produced a couple of days with some snow! The earliest I can find is September 18th back in 1929. I think we are in good shape since the last time we saw snowfall in Sioux Falls during September was all the way back in 1985 on the 30th. That same year we recorded the largest amount of snow in the month at 0.9” on the 28th that year.

When it comes to rainfall, Sioux Falls normally averages 2.77” of rain during September. Good news, the Climate Prediction Center is predicting a normal amount of precipitation for the month in our areas.

 (Courtesy: Climate Prediction Center)

More good news! September brings us football season, one of my favorite times of the year! Grab some hot dogs, maybe a light sweater, catch a little pigskin, and relax! Enjoy your month!
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