2016 Weather: Year in Review

One of the Warmest and Wettest Years in Sioux Falls' History!
What a year we had in 2016, from the above average warmth, to the snow, and even the total precipitation, 2016 was definitely a year of weather extremes across the Rushmore State.

As a state, South Dakota recorded its sixth warmest year on record according to South Dakota’s Acting State Climatologist, Laura Edwards.

In Sioux Falls, we saw something very similar. The average annual temperature, calculated by adding every high temperature and low temperature and dividing that by twice the number of days in the year, for Sioux Falls in 2016 was 49.4° which places seventh on the list of warmest years on record.

Every month of 2016 in Sioux Falls finished with a temperature that was above average, with November finishing with a +9.7° average temperature.  The streak of above average months dates all the way back to August of 2015, which was the last time we had a below normal month.

Out of the 366 days, it was a leap year, in 2016, we recorded 211 days with a high temperature above average, 136 with a high temperature below average, and 19 days with a high temperature exactly at average.


While we know it was a warm year, it was also quite a wet year in Sioux Falls.

On average, Sioux Falls generally sees 26.38” of precipitation per year. 2016’s total of 32.23” ranks as the 15th wettest year on record with 22% more precipitation than normal, and marks the third year in a row that South Dakota’s largest city has finished with above normal precipitation. 2016 falls just shy of 2015’s annual total of 32.94” which places 9th on the list of wettest years on record.

While a season’s snowfall is generally calculated by starting in September and finishing in April or May (whenever the final snow of the winter/spring season is), we do also calculate the calendar year snowfall. For Sioux Falls, the average annual snowfall is 44.5”. In 2016 Sioux Falls measured 49.0”, placing on the list at 31 for snowiest calendar years on record.

Something to watch for in the year of 2017 will be when we see our first colder than normal month. We have had an unprecedented stretch of 16 straight months with an average temperature that has been above normal and all streaks much come to an end right? While it is still very early, January is off to a colder than normal start, but we also saw that in early December which ended up above normal, so it will be something to watch. Either way, I have a hunch that our streak isn’t going to last too far into the new year.

Brandon Spinner
Chief Meteorologist[/vc_column_text]

Categories: Agriculture, Weather, Weather Blog