Taking a look back at the 2022 severe weather season

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 6:11 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -- We all know the weather in our area can get wild at times and that was absolutely the case during this severe weather season, especially the spring and early summer months.

The Sioux Falls National Weather Service issued 340 severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings while the Aberdeen National Weather Service issued 293 severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings.

In 2021, the Sioux Falls NWS issued 200 severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings while the Aberdeen NWS issued 191 severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings.

Let’s break it all down; in the months of May and June, the Sioux Falls National Weather Service issued 246 severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings while the Aberdeen National Weather Service issued 195 severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings. From July through October, the Sioux Falls National Weather Service issued 94 severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings while the Aberdeen National Weather Service issued 98 severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings.

Now let’s take a look at the three major events that impacted our area.

We’ll first start with the May 12th derecho. A “particularly dangerous situation” severe thunderstorm watch was issued for southeast South Dakota, southwest Minnesota, northern Nebraska and northwest Iowa, highlighting that a “prolific wind damage event” is expected to unfold with winds as high as 105 mph. This was the first time any part of the Sioux Falls NWS was in a PDS watch since 2015 and this was the first time Sioux Falls was under a PDS watch since 2008. A tornado watch was issued north of there. There were 14 tornadoes in South Dakota on May 12, the most in one day since May 5th, 2007, and the 29 tornadoes in the month of May was tied for third most on record.

Let’s fast forward two weeks to Memorial Day weekend, this one featured several tornadoes, including an EF-1 near 41st street in Sioux Falls and an EF-3 tornado that tracked 10 miles in Deuel County. this was the first tornado rated EF-3 or stronger in South Dakota since 2018 and the first within the Sioux Falls or Aberdeen NWS since June 18, 2014 when an EF-4 tornado struck near Alpena in Jerauld County.

After some bouts of severe weather in June, the final significant one of the 2022 season came the day after the fourth of July, when yet another derecho moved through the area. While this one was not as significant as the May derecho but there were widespread wind reports of 60-85 mph with a 96 mph wind gust near Huron. Along with that, no tornadoes were reported but hail to softball size was reported in Dewey County.

One interesting note about this severe weather season; Brookings was under a moderate risk of severe weather three times while Sioux Falls, Marshall and Watertown were under a moderate risk twice and Aberdeen once.

Here’s a look at the last time each of the bigger cities in our area was under an enhanced, moderate risk and a high risk of severe weather prior to 2022.

Last time severe weather risk was at least three out of 5
Last time severe weather risk was at least three out of 5(Dakota News Now)

The peak of severe weather season runs from May through September, but severe weather can occur as early as March and as late as October and it’s always important to have a plan in place on what to do and where you should go in case severe weather strikes your area.