Simplified: Sioux Falls has seen fewer snowy days and less snow overall than normal, according to data from the National Weather Service of Sioux Falls. But projections show a potentially wet spring, when the precipitation really matters for farmers in the state.
Why it matters
- Even if the groundhog sees his shadow Wednesday, this winter – whether it lasts another six weeks or not – has been mild in Sioux Falls.
- It's a bit colder than last year, which was the second-warmest December and January on record, said Mike Gillispie, service hydrologist with the weather service. But this winter's average temperature of 22.4 degrees (again, in that December to January time frame) is still a few degrees above normal.
- But what's unique this year is the lack of snow. So far the city has recorded 13.5 inches of snow since October, and the vast majority of that was in one December storm.
"We're over 10 inches below normal as far as snowfall," Gillispie said. "We've just been missing out."
What's the outlook for spring?
The last four years have been a bit of a roller coaster from some of the wettest years on record in 2018 and 2019 to a pretty severe drought.
The early indicators, though, Gillispie said, are for a cooler, wetter spring this year. And – dare we say – normalcy?
"We saw enough rain back in September and October that kinda of brought us out of the drought we'd been in," he said. "We're getting back fairly close to normal."
It's too soon to tell, of course, and first we have to see if the dry, mild winter stays the course.
And don't be surprised if we end up with a spring blizzard, Gillispie said.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we get more snow in April than January."