Colder than average winter expected across South Dakota

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 6:35 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - While still in the full swing of Fall, southeastern South Dakota got a sneak peak of winter this morning, as a quick squall of snow moved through the area.

A small snow squall moves across southeastern South Dakota early Friday morning.
A small snow squall moves across southeastern South Dakota early Friday morning.(Dakota News Now)

That could be a preview to the expected cold winter much of the region will see, caused by high chanced of La Niña conditions. Laura Edwards, the SDSU Extensions State Climatologist, says a colder winter could cause trouble, as the ground could freeze before any snowfall aides in fighting the ongoing drought.

“It’s really kind of tough to get a lot of improvement in drought conditions over the winter.” Edwards says.

And while La Niña conditions don’t usually indicate heavier or lighter snowfall during the winter, recent outlooks show more moisture possible in the region in January and February. It’s something Edwards says has been a growing trend.

“Also given our long term trend over the last couple of decades, you know we’ve seen a lot of wet winters up here. And I think that’s part of the equation when we look at what the winter might bring.”

And while colder temperatures are expected, they don’t look to be breaking any records. And Edwards says that’s due to a recent trend of warming winters.

“When we look at the long term trends, over South Dakota and over the Northern Plains, [the] winter season is warming faster than any other season. So it’s becoming less and less common to get a really extremely, cold winter.”

So while snowfall could be heavier this winter, colder temperatures are still expected to move in, and hamper and improvements to the already dry ground.

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