Joe's Corner

(Editor's note:  This addition to Joe's Corner was originally released during heightened awareness of the El Niño Season as a Public Information Statement on September 18, 1997.  The statement served as a reminder for the importance of historical climate data.  By understanding weather events of the past, we are able to keep a better perspective of today's climate.)


The change in seasons across the central United States can produce volatile weather patterns that can bring rapid changes in temperature. The month of September in 1895 was an interesting time with both record low and high temperatures that still stand today.

In Sioux Falls...the temperature fell to 30 degrees on September 7th. This was for decades the earliest freeze on record in Sioux Falls until 1974...when the mercury fell to 31 degrees on the 3rd. Less than two weeks later...the temperature hit 103 degrees on the 17th and 100 degrees on the 19th. The record high of 100 degrees on the 19th is the latest occurrence of 100 degrees or more in the Sioux Falls weather records. This was followed by a record low of 20 degrees on the last day of the month.

The days following the 19th were quite amazing. The high temperature on the 20th was 83 degrees...several degrees cooler but still 12 degrees above the normal high of 71 degrees. The next day the high was 78 degrees...still above normal. On the 22nd however...just three days after a high of 100 degrees...the high in Sioux Falls was just 44 degrees which is a record low maximum temperature for the date that stands to this day!

A steady rain fell throughout the 22nd which began on the 21st. Rainfall on the 21st totaled 0.32 inches and on the 22nd an additional 1.67 inches fell. The 1.67 inches of rain which fell on the 22nd is a daily rainfall record that still stands to this day.

The situation in Sioux City was almost a carbon copy of Sioux Falls. There were four consecutive days beginning on the 17th where temperatures rose to record levels... 103 degrees on the 17th... 101 degrees on the 18th... 98 degrees on the 19th and 92 degrees on the on the 20th. All are records that stand to this day. The high of 101 degrees on September 18th is the latest occurrence of 100 degrees or more in the record books. This was followed by a low of 27 degrees on the last day of the month. Just two days after the high of 92 degrees on the 20th the high in Sioux City was only 46 degrees! Like Sioux Falls...the high on the 22nd is a record low maximum temperature for the date. Rain fell on the 21st and continued on the 22nd with a total of 1.66 inches on the 21st representing a record daily rainfall which also remains intact to this day.

With El Niño being active this summer will September 1997 see a repeat? Stay tuned!

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