Joe's Corner

1894
A Good Workout for Area Thermometers

By Joe Sheehan
National Weather Service
Sioux Falls, SD

The year of 1894 was a very interesting climatic year in Sioux Falls with alternating warm and cold spells. No less than 18 daily record high and low temperatures are still on the record books as of December 2000. In some cases, record high and low temperatures occurred only a few days apart. The precipitation total for the year of 10.44 inches makes 1894 the driest year recorded. The dry conditions during 1894 set up a desert-like climate with larger than normal diurnal temperature swings.

The month of April was the wettest month of the year with 2.87 inches of precipitation. This was followed by a paltry 0.48 inches of rain during May. The summer months of June, July and August saw a combined total of 3.46 inches of rainfall making the summer of 1894 the driest on record.

A low temperature of 32 degrees below zero on January 24 was preceded by 2.8 inches of snow on the 19th and an additional two inches on the 23rd. This represents the coldest temperature recorded for the year.

The pattern that set the tone for much of the summer occurred during the month of March. On the 17th the mercury rose to 80 degrees. That is the second earliest occurrence of an 80 degree temperature in Sioux Falls. This was followed slightly more than a week later by low temperatures of 4 degrees below zero on two consecutive days, the 25th and 26th.

The dry conditions during the month of May began the larger than normal diurnal temperature ranges of 30 to 40 or more degrees on several days during the month. Diurnal temperature ranges of 24 to 25 degrees are normal for the months of May through September. During May 1894 the average diurnal temperature range was 33.1 degrees with an average maximum temperature of 76.5 degrees and an average minimum temperature of 43.4 degrees. After a minimum temperature of 27 degrees on the 19th the temperature warmed 43 degrees to an afternoon high of 70 degrees only to drop back to 33 degrees the following morning. On the 28th a morning low of 31 degrees was followed by a warm afternoon high of 88 degrees.

During June, the average diurnal temperature range was 33.9 degrees with an average high of 89.3 degrees and an average low of 55.4 degrees. Between May 28th and June 7th the average high temperature was 82.4 degrees and the average low temperature was 39.9 degrees, for an average diurnal range of 42.5 degrees! After a minimum temperature of 34 degrees on the 6th the temperature promptly warmed 48 degrees to an afternoon maximum of 82 degrees! The maximum temperature on the 7th hit 89 degrees. The final two weeks of the month saw afternoon highs in the upper 80s and 90s with triple digit heat the final two days of the month, 100 degrees on the 29th and 103 degrees on the 30th. The triple digit heat the final two days of the month are still standing records. Rainfall for the month was 1.36 inches.

The month of July continued the trend of large diurnal temperature ranges with an average diurnal range of 36.4 degrees! The average maximum for the month was 94.9 degrees and the average minimum was 58.5 degrees. Between July 20-26 there was a week long stretch where the average maximum temperature was 99.6 degrees and the average minimum temperature was 58.1 degrees, an average diurnal range of 41.5 degrees! On July 7th , a morning low of 42 degrees was followed by an afternoon high of 88 degrees. Only three days later the mercury soared to 102 degrees on the 10th and to 104 degrees on the 11th. On the 21st, after a chilly morning low of 47 degrees the temperature warmed 53 degrees to an afternoon high of 100 degrees. The hottest temperature of the year occurred on the 25th with a maximum temperature of 108 degrees. The largest diurnal temperature range of the year occurred on the 29th when the temperature warmed a total of 59 degrees, from a chilly morning low of 47 degrees to an afternoon high of 106 degrees! Amazingly neither temperature is still on the record books. There were twelve consecutive days of temperatures 90 degrees or more from the 20th through the end of the month. The average maximum temperature during this stretch was 98.4 degrees. The average high temperature of 94.9 degrees for July 1894 is the second hottest on the record books with July 1936 the hottest at 98.9 degrees. The average monthly temperature of 76.7 degrees for July 1894 failed to make the top ten warmest months in the Sioux Falls record books because of the cooler nighttime temperatures. Rainfall for the month of July 1894 was only 0.90 inches

The average diurnal range for August 1894 was 31.1 degrees with an average maximum of 88.1 degrees and an average minimum of 57 degrees. From August 3rd through the 9th, the average high temperature was 93.4 degrees and the average low temperature was 56 degrees, an average diurnal range of 37.4 degrees. There was a 9 day consecutive stretch of temperatures 90 degrees or more from the 5th through the 13th. The average maximum temperature during this period was 94.6 degrees. Chilly morning lows were established on the 3rd and 4th of the month with minimums of 39 degrees and 42 degrees respectively. Both are still on the record books today. After a morning low of 42 degrees on the 4th the temperature warmed to 88 degrees that afternoon, to 91 degrees the next day and to a record 99 degrees on the 6th. On the 9th the mercury soared to 102 degrees for the hottest afternoon of the month. Things settled down for the remainder of August with afternoon highs mostly in the 80s to middle 90s and lows in the 50s and 60s. Rainfall for the month was 1.20 inches.

September 1894 had an average diurnal range of 32.1 degrees with an average maximum of 79.8 degrees and an average minimum of 47.7 degrees. An afternoon high of 94 degrees on the 3rd was followed by a minimum of 44 degrees and a maximum of 91 degrees on the 4th . A low temperature of 28 degrees on the 11th was followed by an afternoon high of 78 degrees. Another morning low of 28 degrees occurred on the 17th which was followed by an afternoon high of 79 degrees. Maximum temperatures on the 18th and 19th peaked at 86 degrees. Toward the end of the month a high temperature of 93 degrees occurred on the 28th and was followed by high temperatures of 58 degrees the final two days of the month. Rainfall for the month of September 1894 was 0.62 inches.

The last standing record for the year occurred on December 19 with a high of 54 degrees.

For the year, 1894 recorded a total of 66 days with temperatures of 90 degrees or more which surpasses the 61 days that occurred in 1936. There were 12 days of 100 degrees or more during 1894 which is nine fewer than the 21 days during 1936 and two fewer days during 1988. The average summer temperature of 74.1 degrees is tied with 1931 as the 9th warmest summer.

Record temperatures from 1894 still on the record books include the following:

RECORD LOW TEMPERATURES

RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES

32 DEGREES BELOW ZERO JANUARY 24

80 DEGREES MARCH 17

4 DEGREES BELOW ZERO MARCH 25

100 DEGREES JUNE 29

4 DEGREES BELOW ZERO MARCH 26

103 DEGREES JUNE 30

27 DEGREES MAY 19

104 DEGREES JULY 11

37 DEGREES JUNE 5

108 DEGREES JULY 25

42 DEGREES JULY 7

99 DEGREES AUGUST 6

39 DEGREES AUGUST 3

93 DEGREES SEPTEMBER 28

42 DEGREES AUGUST 4

54 DEGREES DECEMBER 19

28 DEGREES SEPTEMBER 11

 

28 DEGREES SEPTEMBER 17

 


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