Acting State Climatologist Predicts Colder Than Average 2017 Winter

Jan 2, 2017

State weather officials say December’s fluctuating temperature pattern of extreme lows followed by above average conditions will continue into the New Year.

Edwards is the acting climatologist for South Dakota.
Credit SDSU Extension

Acting state climatologist Laura Edwards says South Dakota is in for a cold start to 2017. She says the weak La Nina affecting the region now could mean colder than average January and February temperatures.  
 
“Right now it looks like we’re going to start off the month of January very cold, potentially similar to what we saw a couple weeks ago with very cold temperatures and some very cold wind chills it looks like January 5th through the 11th looks especially freezing, extra freezing maybe, with wind chills dipping down to the negative 40s and 50s,” says Edwards.
 
Edwards says an extended period of cold temperatures can skew a month’s average.
 
“I think that having the really cold temperatures start off the month will probably drive the average temperature for January down quite a bit,” says Edwards.
 
Edwards predicts the cold snap to last until at least mid-January but says warmer temperatures could re-appear toward the end of the month.

She says the first half of January looks to be average to below average for precipitation except in West River.
 
“Precipitation is kind of a mixed bag, the west side of the state actually looks to be more likely, wetter than average in January and February but we’ll be starting off the month a little on the dry side,” says Edwards.  

For the rest of winter, Edwards says she predicts mostly below average temperatures.