Top Five Snowiest Februarys on Record

Much below normal temperatures and much above normal snowfall continued across central and northeast South Dakota as well as west central Minnesota for February 2011.  Despite the mid-February warm up and snowmelt across the region, average temperatures for February ranged from 5 to 9 degrees below normal.   The total snowfall for the month ranged from near 7 inches to almost 22 inches or  1 to 16 inches above normal.  The mid-February warm up from the 11-17th brought high temperatures in the 30s and 40s across the region with some 50s and lower 60s in central and north central South Dakota. Pierre and Kennebec rose to the mid to upper 60s on February 16th. This warm up was able to melt off quite a bit of the snow cover across the region.  Unfortunately, another strong upper level low pressure system brought widespread heavy snow along with blizzard conditions to the region on February 20th.  Snowfall amounts from this system generally ranged from 10 to 20 inches replacing much of the previously melted snow cover.  This heavy snowfall brought most of the locations across the region into their top five snowiest Februarys on record.  The rankings included Sisseton with their second snowiest February on record; Wheaton with their third snowiest February;  Aberdeen and Pierre with their fourth snowiest; Watertown and Mobridge with their fifth snowiest February while Kennebec had their eight snowiest February on record.

The February 20th blizzard also broke several calendar day records for several locations across the region.   The 14 inches of snowfall at Watertown on February 20th tied for 3rd all time for calendar day snowfall and broke the record for snowiest calendar day for any day in February.  The 16 inches of snowfall at Aberdeen on February 20th was the highest calendar day total for any day in February and was tied for 4th all-time snowfall on any given calendar day. Finally, the 11.8 inches of snowfall at Pierre on February 20th was the 2nd snowiest calendar day in any February and 6th snowiest calendar day all-time. 

February 2011 was also a very cold month with average temperatures ranging from 10 to 19 degrees putting most locations in their top 25 coldest Februarys of all-time.  Although February 2011 was below normal, it does not even come close to the all-time coldest February on record for the region.  February 1936 was brutally cold across the region with average monthly temperatures from minus 4 to minus 9 degrees or 17 to 23 degrees colder than February 2011. The average monthly temperature at Aberdeen in February 1936 was minus 8.1 degrees. February 1936’s average monthly temperatures were a whopping 24 to 31 degrees below normal across central and northeast South Dakota as well as west central Minnesota.  Specifically, February 1936 in Aberdeen was 26.8 degrees below normal and Timber Lake was 31 degrees below normal.

 

FEBRUARY  2011

       

Temperature Data

Aberdeen

Sisseton

Wheaton

Watertown

Warmest Temperature / Date

46 / 13th

49 / 16,17th

44 / 14th,17th

43 / 13th

Coldest Temperature / Date

-29 / 2nd

-21 / 10th

-22 / 2nd

-29 / 8th

Average High / Departure from Normal

21.1 / -7.4

21.8 / -5.7

21.0 / -7.0

19.8 / -6.8

Average Low / Departure from Normal

0.1 / -8.7

4.9 / -4.4

1.7 / -6.8

0.1 / -7.2

Monthly Average / Departure from Normal

10.6 / -8.1

13.4 / -5.0

11.3 / -6.9

10.0 / -7.0

Precipitation Data

       

Monthly Precipitation / Departure from Normal

1.05 / +0.57

1.11 / +0.47

1.30 / +0.75

1.55 / +1.07

Monthly Snowfall / Departure from Normal

21.0 / +14.6

18.5 / +11.6

17.3 / +10.4

21.5 / +15.9

Most Precipitation in 24 hours / Date

0.59 / 20-21st

0.66 / 20-21st

0.96 / 21st

0.90 / 20th

Most Snow in 24 hours / Date

16 / 20th

14.4 / 20-21st

11.3 / 21st

14.0 / 20th

         

Temperature Data

Pierre

Kennebec

Mobridge

Timber Lake

Warmest Temperature / Date

63 / 16th

68 / 16th

51 / 15th

48 / 15th

Coldest Temperature / Date

-17 / 25th

-18 / 2nd,8th

-27 / 2nd

-24 / 2nd

Average High / Departure from Normal

26. 1 / -8.7

30.5 / -6.6

21.3 / -9.8

21.6 / -10.1

Average Low / Departure from Normal

6.2 / -7.9

7.0 / -6.5

2.6 / -8.0

4.9 / -6.9

Monthly Average / Departure from Normal

16.2 / -8.3

18.8 / -6.6

11.9 / -9.0

13.2 / -8.5

Precipitation Data

       

Monthly Precipitation / Departure from Normal

1.94 / +1.40

0.91 / +0.48

0.55 / +0.14

0.66 / +0.12

Monthly Snowfall / Departure from Normal

19.0 / +13.7

18.0 / +12.1

16.7 / +11.1

7.1 / +0.6

Most Precipitation in 24 hours / Date

1.24 / 20th

0.60 / 20th

0.30 /19-20th

0.32 / 20th

Most Snow in 24 hours / Date

11.8 / 20th

10 / 20th

11.1 / 20th

2 / 20th



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