2010 Weather Highlights

Some of the interesting, unusual, and extreme weather around the Black Hills in 2010 (links in each section will open a new window with more details about that event). Additional statistics will be available in the 2010 Annual Summary at the end of the year.

Cold winter: The average temperature at the Rapid City Regional Airport for the winter season of December 1, 2009 through February 28, 2010 was 19.3 degrees, which is the fifth coldest on record.
Ice storm causes power outages: Several days of freezing fog and drizzle downed electric lines and communications towers across northern and central South Dakota in mid January. Deep snow cover made power restoration difficult.
Ice jams: Warmer daytime temperatures and cool nights caused ice jams along the White River in early March. River levels crested one to two feet above flood stage and water reached theshoulder of Highway 44 south of Interior. The White River crested almost 10 feet over flood stage south of Reliance before the last ice jam broke loose.
Spring snow: The region missed large spring snow storms like those in 2009. Late season snow was confined to the higher elevations of the Black Hills, with one to two feet of snow falling April 1-2. Snow continued to fall in May, with over a foot of snow measured in Lead between May 10 and 13.
Severe thunderstorms caused an estimated over 60 million dollars with an additional several million dollars damage to crops. 
Twenty-five tornadoes were reported in the region; double the yearly average. Three tornadoes were over five miles long and six caused significant damage.
A tornado caused minor damage along 3rd Street in Winner the evening of May 22 and destroyed two barns east of town along S.D. Highway 44. It was rated an EF-2, with winds estimated between 95 to 115 mph.
Five tornadoes were reported across eastern Meade and Perkins Counties from Plainview to near Lemmon on May 24; three caused EF-2 damage (winds 111 to 135 mph). The first tornado destroyed a manufactured home, snapped several trees and power poles, flattened a pole barn, and rolled a combine near Plainview. It was over 22 miles long and a quarter mile wide. Another tornado destroyed ranch buildings and farm equipment north of Faith along a path almost 23 miles long and one quarter mile wide. A third tornado destroyed a rural school near Meadow. The path length was eight miles long.
On June 16; law enforcement, storm spotters, and storm chasers observed 16 tornadoes around Dupree; several were on the ground at the same time. Damage to houses, mobile homes, and the community center indicated wind speeds of 120 to 130 mph; which is classified as an EF-2, and totaled over a million dollars. Four to six inches of rain from the storm caused flooding, making many roads impassable. Water flowing over U.S. Highway 212 was estimated to be over a half mile wide.
A small tornado hit the western side of Wall the evening of June 20.  While the tornadic winds were light, the storm produced straight-line winds estimated at 100 mph that destroyed a hangar at the airport and tossed the airplanes inside it several yards. 
Severe thunderstorms dropped tennis ball sized hail (4 ¼ inch diameter) near Angostura Reservoir and Maverick Junction southeast of Hot Springs on May 24, resulting in extensive damage to vehicles and buildings.
Damage to vehicles, roofs, and windows from golf ball sized hail in Gillette on May 26 totaled almost 50 million dollars.
Baseball sized hail caused extensive damage and one injury in Colome on May 29.
Baseball sized hail hammered cars along U.S. Highway 16 near Rockerville on July 29. About 30 vehicles were damaged so badly they could barely be driven into Rapid City for repairs.
Thunderstorm Winds:
A windstorm swept across Lemmon the night of June 21, producing 85 mph winds that damaged sheds and buildings.
Downburst winds caused damage across a large area from Rozet to Moorcroft to Upton on June 22.
Many buildings were damaged on the Rosebud Reservation on July 3.
Wind-driven hail caused a half a million dollars property damage and 1.5 million dollars in crop damage across northeastern Wyoming and much of western South Dakota on July 19. The storm path was visible on satellite images several days later.
            A downburst slammed Hot Springs on July 29, uprooting trees onto buildings.
A small, intense thunderstorm over the Bear Lodge Mountains on May 18 caused flash flooding along tributaries of the Belle Fourche River, which washed out several Crook County roads.
Heavy rain and large hail caused flooding in the Lead-Deadwood area August 3. 
Triple digit temperatures return: On August 22, the temperature at the Rapid City Airport reached 102 degrees for the first time since August 13, 2007. The 1104 consecutive days with temperatures less than 100 degrees set a record, exceeding the previous record of 738 days from July 11, 1981 to July 18, 1983. 
Fall rain: Widespread rain fell over much of the Black Hills region September 23.  Most locations received at least 0.20 inches of rain, with a few stations measuring over an inch of rain.  Localized heavy rain fell October 9-10 in the northern Black Hills.  Lead received 4.64 inches in 24 hours ending the evening of October 10, which is the second wettest day in October, behind 5.14 inches that fell October 6, 1994, and the seventh wettest day for any time of year. 
Long-lasting winds: An intense storm system moving across the northern Plains and upper Midwest October 25-27 produced strong winds. The highest measured wind gust was 70 mph at Union Center. The wind caused some tree and sign damage.
Warm fall: October was the seventh warmest October at the Rapid City Regional Airport--in contrast to last year's coldest October.  The average temperature this year was 53.3 degrees; last year's average temperature was 38.7 degrees, which was the average minimum temperature this year.
November snow: A small storm system produced the first heavy snow of the season across the Bear Lodge Mountains on Nov 9.  The Hulett area received the most snow, with snowfall ranging from five inches to almost a foot and a half. Heavy snow blanketed the northern Black Hills and foothills November 29.  Twenty to thirty inches fell over the higher terrain, with six to fifteen inches covering the foothills around Spearfish. Snowfall on the plains ranged from less than an inch to six inches, but strong winds blew the snow and caused low visibilities. The National Weather Service near downtown Rapid City recorded a peak wind gust of 62 mph and the Rapid City Regional Airport had a gust of 60 mph.

Ice storm causes dangerous driving:  A band of freezing rain left a coating of ice on roads across the region December 23.

New Year's Eve blizzard:  A blizzard brought heavy snow, strong wind gusts, and bitterly cold temperatures to the region for the final days of the year. 

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