January 2014...A Month of Extremes

January 2014 will go down as one of the windiest months across the region along with extreme temperatures swings, especially for northeast South Dakota.  The constant bombardment from powerful clipper systems from the northwest was responsible for this unusual weather.  As many as six blizzards occurred across northeast South Dakota with several high wind and extreme wind chill events across the region. With all of this occurring, Watertown, Aberdeen, and Sisseton only finished the month at three to four degrees below normal for temperatures. Most would not believe what the table shows below is that locations in northeast South Dakota had almost half of the days of the month with high temperatures of 32 degrees and above.   In central South Dakota, Mobridge and Pierre had 16 and 18 days of 32 degrees or higher, respectively. Pierre also had 11 days equal to or above 40 degrees along with 3 days of 50 degrees or higher. On the other side of the coin, Aberdeen, Sisseton, and Watertown all had almost half of the month with lows of 10 below zero or lower with all having three days of 20 below zero or lower.   Mobridge and Pierre finished the month with an average temperature close to normal.  The main thing to consider is that the daily average temperature is calculated using the high and low temperature for the day which are added together and divided by two.  Even if the high temperature or low temperature for the day only occurs for a short period of time, the daily average can be skewed in one direction or another.   In fact, it is hard to believe that Aberdeen had high temperatures of 32 degrees or above for 11 straight days from January 10th to January 20th.  Looking back, several of these high temperatures occurred during the night or for a short period of time during the day.  The Arctic air won the battle throughout January over the milder Pacific air.

The daily temperature departures from normal illustrates very well the extreme temperature fluctuations for the month along with the large range between monthly high and low temperatures.  The table shows that the average daily temperature departures ranged from as much as 24 degrees above normal at Sisseton to 28 degrees below normal at Watertown. The differences between the daily high and low temperatures for the month ranged from 63 degrees at Pierre to 71 degrees at Mobridge.

The other big issue for the month was the seemingly endless winds across the region. The table below shows how windy January really was across the region.  A thirty mph wind gust is not something easily reached on a daily basis but for January it was commonplace across the region.  Most locations had nearly two-thirds of the month with wind gusts of 30 mph or higher with nearly one-third of the month with 40 mph wind gusts or higher.  Fifty mph wind gusts are very infrequent but for January there were from 3 to 5 days with wind gusts of 50 mph or higher.  Three locations showed a 60 mph wind gusts of higher.  The highest wind gust for the month occurred at Aberdeen with 69 mph on January 16th.   The combination of cold and winds also created some bitterly cold chills across the region.   January 5th and 6th featured some of the coldest wind chills in several years with 40s to 50s below zero wind chills occurring.  The coldest wind chill was 56 degrees below zero which was reached in the early morning hours on January 6th at Summit.  

Temperatures

Aberdeen

Watertown

Sisseton

Pierre

Mobridge

Days  => 32o

16

13

13

18

16

Days  => 40o

3

1

3

11

8

Days <= -10o

15

14

12

2

6

Days <= -20o

3

3

3

0

0

Daily Depart

from Normal

  +23o  12th

  +20o  19th

  +24o  12th

  +22o  12th

 +21o  19th

  -26o    6th

-28o  6th

-27o  6th

-25o  6th

-25o  6th

Monthly Depart from Normal

-3.2o

-4.2o

-2.8o

+0.4o

-0.3o

Monthly High

42o

40o

45o

51o

53o

Monthly Low

-27o

-27o

-24o

-12o

-18o

Difference

69o

67o

69o

63o

71o

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wind  Gusts

19

18

21

20

17

Days => 30mph

Days => 40mph

10

5

12

13

12

Days => 50mph

4

4

3

5

4

Days => 60mph

1

0

0

1

1

Highest Wind Gust/Date

69 mph/16th

56 mph/14th

54 mph/14th

63 mph/16th

61 mph/26th

 



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